Her name is Enik Maslahah, a woman who was born in Gresik on 29 of October 1971. Her introduction to gender issues came from Farha Abdul Kadir Assegaf or known as Farha Ciciek, a muslim feminist and also the founder of Rahima. From the struggle of thoughts in gender and Islamic discourses, Enik started to think and try to see what happen to women in society as well as in her own family. She remembered to what her mother said, that when she was teenager, Enik didn’t like with the harsh treatment of her father to her who justified that his attitude was a right thing for a man, and also perceived that it has a basis in the hadith (with the misogynistic interpretation).
Accidentally, her father also a santri (came from pesantren background) and had ever read about that hadith. Then, Enik’s mother argued by saying, “I have never heard that in the tarikh (Islamic history) about Prophet Muhammad who treated his wife arbitrarily. The Prophet Muhammad was very compassion and never been angry or beaten his wife.”
Enik started to build dialogue between the text and context which were experienced by her mother. Based on discussion and suggestion from Farha Ciciek, Enik did a research on the Perspective of Women Pesantren Students about Identity and Role of Muslim Women in Pesantren Puteri Ploso Kediri East Java. The research was done to become the thesis of her Bachelor Degree in Ushuluddin or Islamic Theology Faculty of Sunan Kalijaga Islamic State University of Yogyakarta.
Because of that condition, Enik felt a need to learn more about social research as a tool of analysis to understand women life. Enik continued her study for her Master Degree by the scholarship from the Ford Foundation through Yayasan Pendidikan Indonesia (YPI), and took the Population Studies in University of Gadjah mada. In this program, she wrote a thesis for her Master about the survival strategy of women as the head of the household based on a field research in a poor village in Sriharjo of Kabupaten Bantul.
Her interest on Islam and Gender issues led her to join a program called Pengkaderan Ulama Perempuan (PUP) or Education for the Women Ulama in Pesantren Binaul Ummah Yogyakarta which was held by Rahima. When the forms of Follow Up Action Plan Proposal were circulated to the participants, Enik proposed the need to hold Women Ulama Congress of the PUP alumnae from various batches and areas. She was inspired by the Women Congress in Indonesia which was held on 22 December 1928 which united the thoughts of women’s rights activist during the Dutch colonization era.
The Women Congres was able to unite women’s rights activist to respond the gender inequality situation that were experienced by women in that era. Then Enik saw the potentiality of Rahima, together with Fahmina and Alimat that they were capable to organize women ulama to be united in a Women Ulama Congress. Enik also saw how women ulama have awareness to criticize the situation gender inequality which are still happen in the context of muslim women and to respond the various situation that discriminates against muslim women’s position and role in the name of the religion.
According to Enik, the Indonesian Women Ulama Congress or KUPI had been become an important part of muslim women’s rights movement in Indonesia, even in the world. Because, in the long of the history, there had never been a country that had been thoroughly unite the women ulama to think, discuss, and struggle for women’s rights and gender equality
Moving to Kalimantan and Building Yayasan Rahim Bumi ( Earth’s Womb Foundation)
After had been living in Yogyakarta for 20 years, on 2017 her family moved to a small city namely Amuntai, Hulu Sungai Utara, South Kalimantan. This migration were based on several reasons. Firstly, because of her and her husband’s interest in organic farming and permaculture. Secondly, to be more engaged with her husband’s family who originally came from Kalimantan. Thirdly, because she wanted to understand the culture and tradition of Banjar society which she thinks unique because of their life around rivers, swamps, and peat-land.
Migrating to Amuntai, made the mother of a child considered that the environmental problems are problems that very closed to women. Enik also learned about ecofeminism that shows the connection between the oppression to women and oppression to the nature. The ecological problem solving then must include women’s perspective. From this experience, Enik and her friends started to establish Yayasan Rahim Bumi. The foundation became a center of peer learning and empowerment of women in the context of natural environment. Nowadays, Rahim Bumi started with their social entrepreneurship approach to raise the public awareness on the necessary of the non-destructive exploration of the natural resources. And now, Enik is the Director of Yayasan Rahim Bumi.
Up to now, Enik attempts to treat well the activities of utilization of the peat-land wisely. Furthermore, most of the people and women in that area, depend their livelihood on the peat-land. Enik also raise the public awareness to participate in the peat-land recovery. And one that become of her big concerns is that most of the villages in the peat-land areas are categorized as Very Underdeveloped Villages and Underdeveloped Villages. [Isthiqonita]