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)
In those areas where traditional inequality still hampers its progress we must take the lead in practising this Bahá’í principle. Bahá’í women and girls must I encouraged to take part in the social, spiritual and administrative activities their communities.
(From the Universal House of Justice’s Ridván Message 1984)
It is not meant that all will be equal, for inequality in degree and capacity is a property of nature.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 132)
Social inequality is the inevitable outcome of the natural inequality of men. Human beings are different in ability and should, therefore, be different in their social and economic standing.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 549)
The fourth principle or teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the readjustment and equalization of the economic standards of mankind. This deals with the question of human livelihood. It is evident that under present systems and conditions of government the poor are subject to the greatest need and distress while others more fortunate live in luxury and plenty far beyond their actual necessities. This inequality of portion and privilege is one of the deep and vital problems of human society. That there is need of an equalization and apportionment by which all may possess the comforts and privileges of life is evident. The remedy must be legislative readjustment of conditions. The rich too must be merciful to the poor, contributing from willing hearts to their needs without being forced or compelled to do so. The composure of the world will be assured by the establishment of this principle in the religious life of mankind.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 107)
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. When the two wings or parts become equivalent in strength, enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary. Therefore, woman must receive the same education as man and all inequality be adjusted. Thus, imbued with the same virtues as man, rising through all the degrees of human attainment, women will become the peers of men, and until this equality is established, true progress and attainment for the human race will not be facilitated.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 374)
What, then, constitutes the inequality between man and women? Both are human. In power 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 enjoy; especially the privilege of education.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 74-77)