The Two Wings of Humanity:
`Abdu'l-Bahá's Articulation of the Equality of Women and Men During His Western Travels

By Wendi Momen

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #97
Centre for Bahá'í Studies: Acuto, Italy
July 3–6, 2010
(see list of papers from #97)

    Having spent almost His whole life as a prisoner and an exile in the Middle East, `Abdu'l-Bahá, son of the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh, was set free in 1908. He travelled from the Middle East to Europe in 1911 and to Europe and North America in 1912-13, taking His father's message of the renewal of religion and how to build a new civilization based on the spiritual principles of peace, justice and unity to a western audience. In His talks both formal and informal, `Abdu'l-Bahá articulated and developed the principle of the equality of women and men, responding both to the groundswell of the `votes for women', suffragette and suffragist movements and to the urgent need to secure peace before war devastated humanity, linking the advancement of women with the establishment of peace. This paper charts how `Abdu'l-Bahá developed this theme and articulated it as a foundational truth at the base of civilization.

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