”Give me good mothers and I will give you a good nation.”
There have been dramatic changes taking place in the world for the last few decades. This sudden change has had and is still having major effects on all spheres of life, be it political, social or economic. Globalization has changed and transformed the world as we know it. Advances in transportation and communications technology has decreased the distances between continents. Borders between nations are now just lines on a map. Similarly cultural and social barriers are blurring. The world is now more open and more integrated than any other time of humanity’s history. We are now living in a global village where everyone and everything is connected.
This process of integration and openness has had unprecedented positive impacts on many areas. As borders opened up and barriers to trade and investment decreased, new industries were created. Innovation and employment soared. Similarly, millions of people came out of poverty. In a nutshell, globalization has transformed the fate and destiny of many nations on earth. On the other hand, globalization has also redefined the fabric of society and its values. Now more than ever, the age old question of: what is the role of women in society is reemerging and becoming more relevant than ever.
The role of women in society is an integral one. They are the glue that holds society together. They are of such unparalleled importance that Allah has named them after a whole Sura in the Quran: Sura Al-Nisa. Almighty Allah has endowed dignified position and honor of highest pinnacle on women. Islam has ensured the rights of women in the Quran. While giving the responsibility of the maintenance of the wife and children on the husband, Allah has given women the right to education, inherit property from husbands, parents and next of kin. Allah has also given them the right to marry and remarry. The right to ask for divorce if there is mistreatment in the union. They are also given the right to own property, and manage their own business.
Additionally, the character of Muslim men is also judged based on how they treat their women as the hadith says: “ the best from among you is one who behaves best towards his wife.” Contrary to the mistaken beliefs of some people, this is how Islam treats and respects women.
Women are given the special ability to bear children and nurture them. Because of this unique ability that women have, they are direct contributors to the building of the nation and the advancement of society. That is why Napoleon Bonaparte, arguably one of the greatest generals in history once said “Give me good mothers and I will give you a good nation.” Women also play a major role in times of crises and war. They act as mediators and bridge the gap between opposing sides since they are known for their impartiality and smart political maneuvering.
As human beings we have the tendency to forget things very quickly and specially in times of mind-boggling changes as it is very easy to lose perspective on things. It is true that many of the traditional values are challenged and women are taking on different roles these days. This should not cause any alarm. In the words of Charles Darwin “ it is not the strongest, or the smartest but the most responsive to change that survives.” We are in a period of great transformations. What we need to do is to adapt to the changes that are taking place in the world while at the same time hanging on and staying true to our faith, values and traditions.