Baha'i News -- World unity, peace depend on treating the sexes equally
World unity, peace depend on treating the sexes equally
By Kambiz Rafraf
Published April 1, 1995
More than a century ago in Persia, Baha'u'llah, prophet-founder of the Baha'i
faith, proclaimed the equality of man and woman. He did not leave this
pronouncement as an ideal or pious hope but wove it into the fabric of his
social order. He supported it by laws requiring the same standard of education
for women as for men and equality of rights in society.
Equality of the sexes is a spiritual and moral standard essential for the
unification of the planet. Without the qualities, talents and skills of both
women and men, full economic and social development of the planet becomes
For, according to the writings of Baha'u'llah, "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."
In the present transition of humanity from adolescence to maturity, signs of
this evolving equality can be observed everywhere. In the Baha'i view this is
hardly surprising, for "as long as women are prevented from attaining their
highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness
which might be theirs."
The character of this unique age we are entering is further brought into focus
in the following statement from the Baha'i writings: "The world in the past
has been ruled by force and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more
forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the scales are
already shifting, force is losing its weight, 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 properly balanced."
As regards the role of parents, although both parents share in the overall
responsibility of educating the children, the mother is given recognition as
the first educator of humanity, and she must be carefully prepared for this
task. Her education, in fact, from the Baha'i point of view, "is more
necessary and important than that of man, for woman is the trainer of the
child from its infancy."
Another major contribution of women is in the arena of international affairs
and establishment of world peace. "The emancipation of women, the achievement
of full equality between the sexes, is one of the most important, though less
acknowledged prerequisites of peace. The denial of such equality perpetuates
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. ... Only as
women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavor will
the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace
This contribution of women to the establishment of world unity and peace will
inevitably be recognized and developed.
Kambiz Rafraf is chairman of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Dallas.
©Copyright 1995, The Dallas Morning News
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