Talk highlights progress of Brunei women

|     Rokiah Mahmud     |

THE position of women is dependent on the piety and faith of the nation’s leadership in granting their rights as required by Islam, said Dr Hajah Ummi Fa’izah binti Haji Abdul Rahman, a lecturer from Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA), while delivering the Premier Talk of the Knowledge Convention 2017, at the International Convention Centre (ICC).

She outlined the status of women in Brunei, from the past up to the present day, under the leadership and reign of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

“The development of education and Islamic teachings have contributed towards the intellectual development and the personality, or mindset (Sakhsiah), of the women in Brunei Darussalam,” she said. “This is evident from the number of local women holding high posts in the country’s administration.

“Islam accords women their dignity through these five factors: their willingness in accepting their responsibilities under Islamic law; their rights on heritage; their right to voice their needs in terms of marriage; their right to seek knowledge and financial resources; and their right to social activities which do not oppose Islamic values.

“The contributions of women took on a significant role during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), especially in aspects of learning, nation-building, family and community.”

Dr Hajah Ummi Fa’izah binti Haji Abdul Rahman, a lecturer from Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA), during the talk. – AZROL AZMI

She also added that the main legacy of a pious ruler is the development of Islamic education, particularly where women are concerned.

“The establishment of formal Islamic education has allowed the women in this country to move up the ranks in their own respective communities,” she said. “In general, the women of Brunei Darussalam are on the same footing as their male counterparts, with equal opportunities to enjoy the benefits of health services, education, housing, jobs and business opportunities.

“In terms of their safety and security, the government has taken a number of steps in protecting their rights, especially from domestic violence, by the provision of Civil and Syariah laws such as the Islamic Family Law Order of 1999, and the Women and Girls’ Protection Act.

“In the field of education, women in this country have made significant progress, which is evident in the increase of literacy among them, from 73 per cent in 1981 to 91.5 per cent in 2001; and the rate continues to increase by as much as 95 per cent, today.

“Aside from that, the number of female students in higher education institutions is also higher than that of male students. In the civil services, 50.4 per cent of the human resources are mainly composed of women.

“Women in this country have also made advances in the area of business, with a large number of them involved in micro-credit schemes to start their own respective enterprises.

“In addition, several Bruneian women are holding the posts of attorney general, Legislative Council member, permanent secretary and deputy permanent secretary,” said Dr Hajah Ummi Fa’izah, concluding the Premier Talk.