Be Inspired

Conversation with Mualifah – Being Productive and Empowering Others

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Muallifah Ifa, or known as Ifa was born and raised in Madura Island, East Java. Currently she is pursuing or soon to get a master’s degree in Higher Education Management in Gadjah Mada University. She is also the writer of the book, “Mahasiswa Baper, No! Produktif, Yes!”.

Come from a society who is not appreciate women with a higher education, Mualifah wants to see the world where women and man has the same opportunity. And a few days ago, we got a time to talk with her. We talked so much about being productive, how her works in empowering others, an inspiring conversation is our output that day. And you can read our conversation here:

Can you tell us, how was your childhood looks like? Where do you go to school and everything?

I was born and raised in Madura, so I studied there until I got bachelor degree, but right now I am pursuing postgraduate education at UGM. In Madura itself, not so many women can get higher education, and actually, the reason is not only about economic problems, but something like, opportunity and patriarchal culture which create the assumption of women do not need to have a high education, made some women in Madura can get a proper education, yes, my journey is also the same, and quite a struggle. Yet, I convince my family to let me get a better education, and here I am.

If we may know, what you busy for right now?

I happen to be graduating soon, this October maybe. But, besides that, I am also an editor at a website about women empowerment, I am also a writer at harakatuna. Then, I also regularly post articles in some various media. I’m more focused on women empowerment, peace and counterterrorism. Because I believe, everyone can be useful to others according to their abilities. In this case, my ability to write, so I write as much as possible, to be benefit others.

If peoples see you on the street, what do they know about you? Or what you’ve been known for recently?

Yes, because my kind of hobby is writing, maybe a writer. But the story how to become a writer is also quite long. At first, when I was in college, I didn’t want to be left behind with other friends who had their own talents. So at that time, I started to learn to write. Every day I work in the library, reading books and try to write something, and when I started to feel more confident, at that time, I try to participate in national level competitions to write an essay, and thankfully, I won in several competitions, from there, I began to realize that I have the ability in terms of writing. And in the sixth semester, I’ve published a book.

Can you tell us, how can you already published a book in sixth semester of your college? Tell us how do you working on it?

Yes, it’s my first book.“Mahasiswa Baper, No! Produktif, Yes!” The content is about anxiety as a student who is confused about what to do during college. I also put a thoughts about problems faced by students when there is conflict with friends, girlfriends or parents, for example, prohibiting participating in activities and others case. Some also contain personal views. In short, this book, wants to tell to other students to make the most of their time during college, in short to be productive students.

On your behalf, what is mean being productive? And why we need to become productive these days?

In my opinion, productive is doing and maximizing the time and abilities we have to achieve our full potential. For example, for me, productive is when I write, but yes, other people feel productive doing other stuff of course. And why do we need to be productive? yes, it is because if we stay silent or do nothing, we will surely is going to left behind. Being productive also means giving all the time and ability to continue to grow in a better direction. In addition, because time is also very valuable, so we must make the best use the most out of it, whether it’s by writing, reading, cooking or doing other productive things.

Speaking of how valuable time is, tell us, how to manage time efficiently?

Everyone has a priority in managing time. So yes, setting priorities is important for managing time. For example, I usually have a productive time in the early morning or late night, so in the afternoon I can do other things. So it is very important to well manage time so that we can continue to have benefits for others. My religion thought me value the time so much.

Why do you choose writing as tools for sharing?

Because I believe, writing has its own way to share its beneficial to others. Not like giving a speech or else, write makes what we say is timeless.

Your writing also has been sometimes about women empowerment and feminism, what do you think about feminism? And do clarify to public why some people still misjudge feminism?

Yes, many people are misjudge or against the term feminism, but for me, I just think that being a feminist is act of humanity,. And with my background which also struggles to get an education and become a decent human, I think I need to speak more loudly for this issue. In addition, feminism also has many genre, some are radical, liberal, and even Islamic feminism. So, claimming to be a feminist for me is humanitarian act and being a feminist is also a tool to fight for the struggle people out there and for myself.

Can you tell us, do you have someone you look for?

Hmm, I don’t have a specific name, but I am going to say my mother. Hear her story about how her struggle she is to get an education makes me believe, I should do something more about it. My mom, only go to elementary school, and after that she asked to marry my father, it makes me so irritated on how some people back then is does not have any opportunity, that is why, I am so concern in this women empowerment issue.

Do you have any message to the youth out there?

It’s simple, take advantage and maximize all the abilities we have, never stop moving. One day we will surely start to find the puzzles that we have. Of course what we did ten years ago is different from what we are doing today, so basically we have to keep spreading kindness and keep moving, whatever it is as long as we don’t harm others.


To conclude, productivity is getting the maximum result with the minimum input. And if we are not being productive, we will be left behind. And time is our only limited resource, so we have to use it wisely, whether it’s by writing, cooking, or doing other productive things.


Written by Harun Arrasyid and Nevy WP
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