Preparing Baha'i Communities in the East and the West to Embrace Gender Equality

By Baharieh Rouhani Ma'ani

Presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #100
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 7–10, 2010
(see list of papers from #100)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 12, pages 195-220
© 2011, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    The oneness of humankind is the pivotal principle of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation.

    Its realization is impossible without restoring to women their rights. Gender equality is an essential prerequisite of the unity of humankind and one of the most difficult to achieve worldwide. Inequality goes back many centuries. Its practice is rooted in time-honored traditions and condoned in almost all past religions. Eradicating a practice so long upheld and accepted by both men and women as the way God had intended it to be requires patience, painstaking effort and supreme wisdom. Although the principle of gender equality was revealed by Bahá'u'lláh, the ground for its meaningful achievement was laid by `Abdu'l-Bahá during His ministry. This paper deals with the intricacies involved and the remarkable way He dealt with the matter. It examines some of His writings revealed in honor of the Bahá'í women in Iran and North America, and the methods He used to utilize their energy and capabilities for the furtherance of the Cause of God. It also looks at the practical ways He educated the Bahá'í men to accept women as their equals. Finally, it discusses the glowing results He achieved in a relatively short time.

    Also published in Persian.

    Read below or click to download PDF.