Women in our society have something of the quality of a phantom – an illusion without material substance. They are half of our population but are treated as if they do not exist, or if they do, then as some inferior class of citizen. We at Mustaqbil are committed absolutely and unconditionally to fully empowering women as equal members of our society.
This is what we will do:
· Review all the laws with the view to identify any that discriminate in any way against women. These will be modified or annulled as appropriate.
Introduce new legislation that will recognize women as oppressed and will provide ‘affirmative action’ protections and remedies.
· Review divorce laws and ensure that issues such as custody, alimony and child support are addressed fairly, and enforced strictly by the courts.
· Introduce legislation that will criminalize the abuse and battery of women within marriage.
· Root out with an iron hand traditional practices such as ‘karo kari’ which degrade women and treat them as commodities.
· Legislate to severely punish any form of sexual harassment in the workplace or in any other public or private forum
Some aspects of empowering women have been discussed in our policy on health care and human welfare. For completeness we repeat these here:
· Campaigns to educate women – especially in the rural areas – on sexual reproduction and methods of contraception.
· Provision of contraceptives as appropriate – male contraceptives such as condoms, or birth control pills where appropriate.
· Use the health care infrastructure (to be set up under our health care policy) to provide birth control counseling and neo and post natal care.
· Publicity campaigns targeted at women telling them that they have the right to say “No”
· Providing economic incentives that encourage families to have just two children.
Mustaqbil stands prepared to challenge anyone to show us where in the Arabic texts of the Quraan or the Hadeeth there exists any limitation on the pro women agenda that we have articulated here.
Any discussion about women in our society must include a reference to Islam. It is Mustaqbil’s view that Islam is often used as a tool to oppress women. This does injustice to both Islam and women. Lets be clear: Islam liberated women and provided protections where none existed before. There is nothing in the religion that can be deemed as oppressive towards women. What is oppressive is interpretations or partial readings of the sacred texts which are falsely invoked as an excuse to demean or otherwise limit women’s rights and freedoms.