Bahai News - Recognise women as equal partners Tuesday 7 March 2000

'Recognise women as equal partners'

MUMBAI: ``Only when 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,'' Baha'u'llah, founder of the Bahai faith, has observed.

International Women's Day will be observed the world over on March 8. While this celebration of womanhood might appear to be a contemporary concept, a glimpse into the writings of spiritual thinkers and the texts of different faiths reveals that a celebration of this kind is just a reiteration of what several scriptures have emphasised--the need to accord equal status to women.

The Holy Koran, for instance, has compared woman's role in the family or society to that a rib in the human body. It further explains that men and women are equal before God and that the roles of both complement each other. The rights and responsibilities of both are equal and balanced in their totality.

The Bahai faith, too, gives considerable importance to equality of the sexes. Baha'u'llah has said that society must reorganise situations to give practical expression to the principle of equality between men and women. He said, ``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.''

Feminine qualities like compassion, co-operation and empathy have been described as extremely crucial in creating a peaceful, just and sustainable world civilisation. Jesus Christ, in his teachings, has described both sexes as equal in honour and grace and has said that both are endowed with equal gifts and responsibilities.

Although treating women with respect is important, they must also be treated as equals. Although women have been given due recognition in our texts, society as a whole still needs to recognise their social, economic and personal worth as equal to that of men.

The ultimate recognition of women, some say, will be when there is no need to celebrate a woman's day to reinforce their identity and status in society.--Roli Srivastava


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