Zamroni: Never Give Up in Disseminating Gender  Equality  Values

By: Nurkhofifah

“Last time, I thought that  the role ofthe wife is merely a konco wingking (a complemente=ing partner whose position are in the back), not more. Their duties  only in the  kitchen, in the wheen, and on the bed”, said  Zamroni  when reflect his past.  The man who was born on 10 March 1973  is a chair person of  Religious Affairs Office or KUA of Kecamatan Wates, Kulon Progro since early 2020.  Previously, he was appointed as the Chair of KUA in  Kecamatan Temon for six years. While his education he finished from UIN Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta (1995) and he obtained his Magister degree from the Islamic Studies of Universitas Islam Indonesia (UII) Yogyakarta in 2012.

Since Zamroni got married and built his family in 1999, he thought that only his  wife who must do all the domestic affairs and also to nurture their children. It also happen to his only daughter which now grew up to be adult, he forced his daughter to involve in the domestic works such as for cooking, sweeping, and also washing the clothes. At the time,  for him only women who has responsibility to the domestic affairs.

For Zamroni, gender equality is a kind of struggle for women as a kind of rebellion against their destiny. The knowledge and understanding which he obtained when he was in pesantren put  the man as the head of the household. A husband also must have power over his wife, because he perceived that a man has higher degree than his wife. Even though, if he found domestic violence cases, rape, and any other gender based violence cases, Zamroni tends to blame women again and again.

Knowing,  Involving the Process, and Internalizing the Gender Justice Values

In 2012, Zamroni started to know Rifka Annisa, an institution that focused on gender equality values. Through severalactivities, he started to know gender issue, the gender based division of labor, and also gender based violence. But, at that time he felt very doubtful because he did not find the conformity between gender and Islam.  He also still perceived that the gender struggle was a women’s struggle against their destiny.

Then, in the year 2016, he was also involved in a workshop that was held by Rahima, an organization that focuded on Islamand women’s rights. Several series of training related to the interconnection between religion and gender he always attend.  The strict perception related to the  division of labor between men and women, started to be brushed off immediately.

The understanding related to the equal gender relation made Zamroni became more aware that the position of men and women actually are equal as human being. The reciprocity values that he obtained from several activities, started to be implemented by Zamroni in his family. It is not easy to begin he such thing. To decrease his personal ego as a man and as a husband, also to compromise with his wife in any issue become Zamroni’s choice in starting the new thing in his family life.

“I  gave a good respond for his good will to share the roles in our house hold,” said Siti Fatimatul Khorizoh, Zamroni’s wife. Siti was very grateful and totally supporthis husband’s choice for sharing the roles in the house hold. Nowadays, Zamroni also participated in the domestic work,  such as cooking, washing the dishes, and washing the clothes. This situation make a great change for Zamroni and his  little family. “In the fasting month for example, if my wife is still busy to take care of the house, I immediately wash the rice and cook, so we will not be scattered, “ said Zamroni.

Not only in the house hold, Zamroni also implemented the gender equality values in his working environment. He did not see his staff again just because of their gender, but suitable with their capability.”We have to change from even the small thing around us. For example, the division of labor must be suitable with their capacity. We don’t see because of he is a man or a woman, so it will be fair and does not become gender biased, “ he explained.

Delivering Gender Equality Values is Not An Easy Thing

According to Zamroni, perceptions related to the position of a man which is seen as higher then woman is still widely spread in the society. “In the KUA office, there are still some mates who don’t understand about the gender role and have negative opinion related to gender equality,” he said.  Zamroni said, that something which be afraid of by some men in the religious environment is when gender equality be fought for,  then women will pass over men.

Through several media such as sermont, preaching and dissemination of information, Zamroni called for and share information related to sharing the roles and spaces in the house hold between husband and wife. The misunderstanding and worry that are experienced by the society immediately fade away. It needs strong efforts to educate the community related to gender equality values in the society. However he considered that giving the understanding related to gender issues in the society is more difficult and complex.

There are some people who still resistence to the content that was delivered by Zamroni. But the such condition become usual for him. Zamroni said that the heavy resistance if it comes from a Kyai. The strict understanding related to the gender roles sometimes trapped him in a misunderstanding and miscommunication. But it never breaks his sprit. He use different strategy such as visiting the religious leaders as a kind silaturahmi to maintain the relationship and keep discussing with them which initially  rejected the equality values. Slow but sore, his close relationship achieved its results. One of the Kyai who previously refused his gender equality ideas, now also  follow hsi effort to disseminate the gender equality values for his close environment.

Now, Zamroni believes that gender equality is not about woman against her destiny. The strugle for gender equality and justice is suitable with religious values.Women is no more subordinated, seen as unimportant thing and  can be opressed. Women has the right to play their active role in the society and their environment. Both men and women should optimize the potentials they have. So that, in the family there must be reciprocity between husband and wife,  namely to bear the same responsibility unders the values of  compementing and helpng each other.

*The Author is a  Program Staff of Rifka Annisa

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