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Great Disruption against the Family (Part-1):  Capitalism Humiliates the Mother

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Great Disruption against the Family (Part-1):

Capitalism Humiliates the Mother

The term of disruption is currently popularly discussed in the context of a digital economy that destabilizes global business as the old business ways become obsolete and irrelevant. But the meaning of disruption in this article is literally a disturbance and chaos that afflicts millions of family units from the West to the East and has become a humanitarian catastrophe that has been caused in large part by the capitalization flows of women's empowerment. In its contemporary form, classical feminism married with the economic system of capitalism, which then gave rise to a new era of disruption of motherhood, affects not only Muslim women but also ensnare mothers in non-Muslim countries, especially in the West and Asia-Pacific.

The first part of this article will examine how this disruption is caused by the feminization of migration driven by the capitalist economic system in exploiting the mothers, thus, having a direct role in the abandonment of tens of millions of children and the increasing number of divorces. Then in the second part, we will review how liberalism, one of the inherent values of secular capitalism, has caused the size of families to shrink, and even resulted an endangered civilization.

Feminization of Migration: Colossal Imperialism on Motherhood

Since its inception, capitalism indeed always despises women and treats them as cheap workers or means of production. The peak role of women only merely translates into the language of economics - that is how to produce materials and profits for capitalist businesses. The evil interest of capitalism in its early days was wrapped with feminist ideas and masked by the women's empowerment slogan so that it looked sweet.

But in this disruption era, the real face of Capitalism is increasingly visible. Its greed has made mothers massively exploited, especially those in the Asia-Pacific region as the last market hopes for dying Capitalism. This region has faced massive feminization of migration which has been the inevitable consequence of the insatiable capitalistic ambitions for economic growth. These ambitions are clearly highlighted in Hillary Clinton’s speech at the APEC Women and the Economy Forum, 29 June 2012, where she stated, “Women now represent 40 percent of the global labor force, 43 percent of the global agricultural workforce, and more than half of the world’s university students. So, it’s just logical: Limiting women’s economic potential is for every country like leaving money on the table. It doesn't make sense, especially when we are still struggling to grow our way out of the economic crisis.”

Clinton’s words reveal clearly the real motive of capitalist countries who have the heart to sacrifice their women because they view them as mere workers and the engine of economic growth, NOT as the mothers of future generations and an honor to be guarded. Capitalism deliberately humiliates mothers to be merely workers, even low-level workers. According to the ILO 2013 report, 43 million women have been hired as caretakers, cooks, housekeepers, and maids. It reflected a drastic increase of 19 million people employed as domestic workers over the last 18 years. Poverty and lack of welfare for millions of women in their countries forced them to leave their homes and their children to make ends meet. Most of these domestic workers come from third-world countries, including the Muslim world. Most come from the Asia Pacific (21.4 million), followed by Latin America and then the Caribbean with 19.6 million. It is the global implementation of capitalism with its interest based financial model and free market system with its liberal principle laissez faire-laissez passer that has caused wealth to be concentrated in the hands of the few and consequently spreading desperate poverty across the Muslim world and third-world countries. This has subsequently caused the mass feminization of domestic workers, exposing them to exploitation.

Tens of Millions of Children Left Behind

Feminism’s poisonous idea in collaboration with the greed of capitalism always ignore the social impact on the lives of children, families and society as a whole. This serious impact has even been warned by Vannesa Tobin, a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)-New York’s deputy director who said that various studies have shown that the social costs of labor migration outweigh the economic benefits, with family relationships and dynamics as the first casualty. Tobin stated that the increasing “feminization” of migration has complicated the situation as it “implies a redefinition of the economic role of women in society and within the family as well.” (2008, International Conference on Gender, Migration and Development)

The disruption of motherhood,  in addition to shaking the institution of marriage, has also spawned a fragile and troubled abandoned generation, as an expensive consequence for the nation that employs the mothers as the engine of economic growth. The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (2016) released data on millions of toddlers abandoned by their mothers due to working overseas. There are 11.2 million Indonesian children deprived of parental care and affection from their mothers, while UNICEF data (2008) indicates that around 6 million children in the Philippines have been abandoned since their mothers became migrant workers. Abandoned children also face problems when they migrate abroad with their mothers who are migrant workers. In Sabah – Malaysia- it is estimated that there were around 50 thousand children from Indonesian migrant workers who do not get proper educational rights. In Hong Kong, there is also an issue of "undocumented children" born to hundreds of thousands of Indonesian and Filipino female migrant workers.

The economic migration that separates millions of children from their mothers also happens in China. According to All-China Women’s Federation and UNICEF (2016), there are 61 million children in China below the age of 17 who have been left in rural areas while one or both parents migrate for work. Over 30 million boys and girls, some as young as four, live in state boarding schools in villages far from their parents and often away from grandparents or a guardian. These abandoned children in China are ensnared with many problems like child trafficking, sexual violence, suicide, crime, and other social diseases, as studied by Li Yifei (2015), a Professor from Beijing Normal University. This is the real impact of the disruption of motherhood in secular civilizations which is far from the light and guidance of Islam. Remember Allah (swt) says:

﴿وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَى

“As for the one who disregards My message, he will have a miserable life, and we resurrect him, on the Day of resurrection, blind.” (Ta Ha, 20:124)

The main empowerment of women in Islam is the optimization of their role as the guardian of civilization and the educators of future generations, NOT as a labor force. In Hizb ut Tahrir’s Draft Constitution (Muqaddimah Dustur), in the section regarding the Social System of Islam ("Nizam al-ijtima'i"), it states, “the main role of a woman in Islam is as the mother of her children and the manager of her husband's house. She is an honor that must be guarded and protected. "

The paradigm of Islam is in stark contrast to Capitalism. Islam actually maintains this sublime humane relationship between the motherhood role of women and the quality of the future generation by ensuring the nature of motherhood remains effective in the community and ensuring the sustained birth of the best quality future generation through the support of the educational, social and economic systems of the Islamic civilization, while at the same time guaranteeing women’s access to educational, social, political and economic rights. Islam commands that women should always be guaranteed provision by their male relatives, and if they do not have any male relative, then the state will ensure their financial needs.

The discussion regarding the continued impact of the disruption of motherhood on the family, and Islam's view on building family resilience will be reviewed in the second part of the article.

Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Fika Komara
Member of the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir

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