A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Equality

Again applying the principle of equality evenly, women are not exempt from self-examination in the area of gender equality and must also engage in deliberate examination of their own attitudes, feelings and behaviors, which may contribute to sustaining traditional patterns of gender prejudice.
(National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 3)


And, in one of His talks, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá emphasises the uniqueness of the Bahá’í position on the equality of women and men. He states that Bahá’u’lláh establishes the equality of man and woman. This is peculiar to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, for all other religions have placed man above woman.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 455)


As to the number of Tablets to women, this is due to the fact that most of the letters which come to the Holy Land are from women. Rarely do letters come from men and, naturally, to women the most are written. Men are enjoined more than women to give the Message of the Cause of God and to diffuse His fragrances.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 336)


BAHA‘O‘LLAH declares the absolute equality of the sexes. The male and female in the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms share alike the material bestowals. Why should there be a difference in the human kingdom? Verily, they are equal before God, for so he created them. Why should woman be deprived of exercising the fullest opportunities offered by life? Whosoever serves humanity most is nearest God—for God is no respecter of gender. The male and female are like the two wings of a bird and when both wings are reinforced with the same impulse the bird of humanity will be enabled to soar heaven-ward to the summit of progress.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 82-83)


Effective efforts to create violence-free families require a partnership between men and women and the active participation of all social sectors. Strategies for redress and remedies must be designed to include the whole family, because the dynamics of family violence directly affect all its members.
(Bahá’í International Community, Creating Violence-Free Families, Summary Report of United Nations Symposium, May 1994)


Equality between men and women is conducive to the abolition of warfare for the reason that women will never be willing to sanction it. Mothers will not give their sons as sacrifices upon the battlefield after twenty years of anxiety and loving devotion in rearing them from infancy, no matter what cause they are called upon to defend. There is no doubt that when women obtain equality of rights, war will entirely cease among mankind.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 175)


Equality is a chimera! It is entirely impracticable! Even if equality could be achieved it could not continue—and if its existence were possible, the whole order of the world would be destroyed. The law of order must always obtain in the world of humanity. Heaven has so decreed in the creation of man. Some are full of intelligence, others have an ordinary amount of it, and others again are devoid of intellect. In these three classes of men there is order but not equality. How could it be possible that wisdom and stupidity should be equal? Humanity, like a great army, requires a general, captains, under-officers in their degree, and soldiers, each with their own appointed duties. Degrees are absolutely necessary to ensure an orderly organization. An army could not be composed of generals alone, or of captains only, or of nothing but soldiers without one in authority. The certain result of such a plan would be that disorder and demoralization would overtake the whole army.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 151)


Even granted that woman is inferior to man in some degree of capacity or accomplishment, this or any other distinction would continue to be productive of discord and trouble. The only remedy is education, opportunity; for equality means equal qualification.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 76)


For the world of humanity consists of two parts or members: one is woman; the other is man. Until these two members are equal in strength, the oneness of humanity cannot be established, and the happiness and felicity of mankind will not be a reality. God willing, this is to be so.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 77)


He promulgated the adoption of the same course of education for man and woman. Daughters and sons must follow the same curriculum of study, thereby promoting unity of the sexes. When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed. Without equality this will be impossible because all differences and distinction are conducive to discord and strife.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 175)


In Persian and Arabic there are two distinct words translated into English as man: one meaning man and woman collectively, the other distinguishing man as male from woman the female. The first word and its pronoun are generic, collective; the other is restricted to the male. This is the same in Hebrew.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 76)


In brief, the assumption of superiority by man will continue to be depressing to the ambition of woman, as if her attainment to equality was creationally impossible; woman’s aspiration toward advancement will be checked by it, and she will gradually become hopeless. On the contrary, we must declare that her capacity is equal, even greater than man’s. This will inspire her with hope and ambition, and her susceptibilities for advancement will continually increase. She must not be told and taught that she is weaker and inferior in capacity and qualification. If a pupil is told that his intelligence is less than his fellow pupils, it is a very great drawback and handicap to his progress. He must be encouraged to advance by the statement, “You are most capable, and if you endeavor, you will attain the highest degree.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 76-77)


In one of His Tablets ‘Abdu’l-Bahá asserts: “In this divine age the bounties of God have encompassed the world of women. Equality of men and women, except in some negligible instances, has been fully and categorically announced. Distinctions have been utterly removed.”
(The Universal House of Justice, 1980 Dec 28, The Relationship Between Husband and Wife)


It is clearly evident from the Bahá’í teachings that no husband should subject his wife to abuse of any kind, much less to violence; such a reprehensible action is the antithesis of the relationship of mutual respect and equality enjoined by the Bahá’í Writings—a relationship governed by the principles of Bahá’í consultation and totally devoid of the use of force to compel obedience to one’s will. Of course, the prohibition against subjecting one’s marriage partner to physical force applies to women, as well.
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, 25 September, 1987)


It is essential that men engage in a careful, deliberate examination of attitudes, feelings, and behavior deeply rooted in cultural habit, that block the equal participation of women and stifle the growth of men.
(National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Two Wings of a Bird, 1997.)


It is my hope that the banner of equality may be raised throughout the five continents where as yet it is not fully recognized and established. In this enlightened world of the West woman has advanced an immeasurable degree beyond the women of the Orient. And let it be known once more that until woman and man recognize and realize equality, social and political progress here or anywhere will not be possible.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 77)


Man is a generic term applying to all humanity. The biblical statement “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” does not mean that woman was not created. The image and likeness of God apply to her as well.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 76)


The damaging effects of gender prejudice are a fault line beneath the foundation of our national life. The gains for women rest uneasily on unchanged, often unexamined, inherited assumptions. Much remains to be done. The achievement of full equality requires a new understanding of who we are, what is our purpose in life, and how we relate to one another—an understanding that will compel us to reshape our lives and thereby our society.
(National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Two Wings of a Bird, 1997.)


The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes, is one of the most important, though less acknowledged pre-requisites of peace. The denial of such equality perpetrates an injustice against one half of the world’s population and promotes in men harmful attitudes and habits that are carried from the family to the workplace, to political life, and ultimately to international relations. There are no grounds, moral, practical, or biological, upon which such denial can be justified. Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavour will the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace can emerge.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 618)


The personal transformation required for true equality will undoubtedly be difficult for men and women alike. Both must relinquish all attachment to guilt and blame and courageously assume responsibility for their own part in transforming the societies in which they live. Men must use their influence, particularly in the civil, political and religious institutions they control, to promote the systematic inclusion of women, not out of condescension or presumed self-sacrifice but out of the belief that the contributions of women are required for society to progress. Women, for their part, must become educated and step forward into all arenas of human activity, contributing their particular qualities, skills and experience to the social, economic and political equation. Women and men together will ensure the establishment of world peace and sustainable development of the planet.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Sept 13, Role of Religion in Promoting Advancement of Women)


The transition to full equality between women and men is an evolutionary process requiring education and patience with oneself and others, as well as an unswerving determination.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Mar 15, Women Peace Process)


The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man has dominated over women by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is already shifting—force is losing its weight and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age, less masculine, and more permeated with the feminine ideals—or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more evenly balanced.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 156)


The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 375.)


To accept and observe a distinction which God has not intended in creation is ignorance and superstition. The fact which is to be considered, however, is that woman, having formerly been deprived, must now be allowed equal opportunities with man for education and training. There must be no difference in their education.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 76)


To the same enquirer Bahá’u’lláh further said, ‘My purpose in coming to this corrupt world where the tyrants and traitors, by their acts of cruelty and oppression, have closed the doors of peace and tranquillity to all mankind, is to establish, through the power of God and His might, the forces of justice, trust, security and faith. For instance [in the future] should a woman..., who is unsurpassed in her beauty and adorned with the most exquisite and priceless jewels, travel unveiled and alone, from the east of the world to the west thereof, passing through every land and journeying in all countries, there would be such a standard of justice, trustworthiness and faith on the one hand, and lack of treachery and degradation on the other, that no one would be found who would wish to rob her of her possessions or to cast a treacherous and lustful eye upon her beauteous chastity!...’ Then Bahá’u’lláh affirmed, ‘Through the power of God I shall transform the peoples of the world into this exalted state and shall open this most great door to the face of all humanity.’ “ (Bahá’u’lláh, Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, v2., p. 141)


Until the reality of equality between man and woman is fully established and attained, the highest social development of mankind is not possible.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 76)


What, then, constitutes the inequality between man and woman? Both are human. In powers and function each is the complement of the other. At most it is this: that woman has been denied the opportunities which man has so long enjoyed, especially the privilege of education. But even this is not always a shortcoming. Shall we consider it an imperfection and weakness in her nature that she is not proficient in the school of military tactics, that she cannot go forth to the field of battle and kill, that she is not able to handle a deadly weapon? Nay, rather, is it not a compliment when we say that in hardness of heart and cruelty she is inferior to man? The woman who is asked to arm herself and kill her fellow creatures will say, “I cannot.” Is this to be considered a fault and lack of qualification as man’s equal? Yet be it known that if woman had been taught and trained in the military science of slaughter, she would have been the equivalent of man even in this accomplishment. But God forbid! May woman never attain this proficiency; may she never wield weapons of war, for the destruction of humanity is not a glorious achievement. The upbuilding of a home, the bringing of joy and comfort into human hearts are truly glories of mankind. Let not a man glory in this, that he can kill his fellow creatures; nay, rather, let him glory in this, that he can love them.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 75-76)


When men own the equality of women there will be no need for them to struggle for their rights!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 163)


When we consider the kingdoms of existence below man, we find no distinction or estimate of superiority and inferiority between male and female. Among the myriad organisms of the vegetable and animal kingdoms sex exists, but there is no differentiation whatever as to relative importance and value in the equation of life. If we investigate impartially, we may even find species in which the female is superior or preferable to the male. For instance, there are trees such as the fig, the male of which is fruitless while the female is fruitful. The male of the date palm is valueless while the female bears abundantly. Inasmuch as we find no ground for distinction or superiority according to the creative wisdom in the lower kingdoms, is it logical or becoming of man to make such distinction in regard to himself? The male of the animal kingdom does not glory in its being male and superior to the female. In fact, equality exists and is recognized. Why should man, a higher and more intelligent creature, deny and deprive himself of this equality the animals enjoy? His surest index and guide as to the creative intention concerning himself are the conditions and analogies of the kingdoms below him where equality of the sexes is fundamental.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 75-76)