You know that old saying where women do the house work and the guy brings home the bacon? As a single woman, I cannot relate. As a woman raised predominantly by a single mother, I cannot relate. As a Muslimah, I cannot relate because bringing home bacon is a turn off. However, I can relate to the value of a woman’s participation in the household and the greater economy. It’s 2017 and here we are still debating women’s issues, let’s not go down the rabbit hole of women of color, young girls, or equal pay. Fact is, it’s 2017, why is this still even in question? Well, the simplest answer to that argument is many of the minuscule everyday responsibilities of women are overlooked and undervalued. For instance, household chores like doing dishes, childcare, cooking dinner is unpaid work….. UNPAID! (for the people in the back). Imagine how undervalued household work is in the framework of poverty, the issue is exacerbated and now you are UNPAID and PLAYED. No one wants to be played or undervalued. Impoverished women suffer from undervalued work, and it starts with the mindset and then the local economy.
During my time at the United Nation’s Women Conference, I continuously learned that finding success in your economy can be found in success of women’s participation in the economy. That’s right, enhancing the participation of women in the economy just may be beneficial. Not only does it eliminate uncompensated work, but it gives a meaning to equality in the household. In one of the sessions, IRUSA’s International Program Coordinator Bilal stated, We (Islamic Relief) believe in promoting household equality, in the rights of both genders having the right to choice, as the Quran preserves it.” Gender equality is beyond extending economic opportunities, it also creates a healthy relationship in marriage, friendship and work relationships. When we overlook the value of the women to work for compensation, earn an education, and start a career, we are overlooking the potential of all parties. Women who suffer from poverty are much more vulnerable to the lack of gender equality. We must pay attention to the smaller details.