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Editor: Dianne Bradford, 5384 Tansas Ln., Hilliard, OH 43026

Vol. II, No. 1

     Topic: The Equality of the Sexes                     Page 1
      This newsletter is dedicated to all seekers after the Eternal Truth.
          In this Day the Hand of divine grace hath removed all distinctions.
    The servants of God and His handmaidens are regarded on the same plane.
    Blessed is the servant who hath attained unto that which God hath decreed,
    and likewise the leaf moving in accordance with the breezes of His will.
    This favour is great and this station lofty. His bounties and bestowals
    are ever present and manifest. Who is able to offer befitting gratitude
    for His successive bestowals and continuous favours?1           --Bahá'u'lláh
           But in the sight of God sex makes no difference. He or she is
greatest who is nearest to God.2

      The above quotes from Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the appointed Interpreter of His Writings, clearly demonstrates one of the basic principles of the Bahá'í Faith: the equality of men and women. It is the soul and its nearness to God that is of importance, not the outer form, male or female. The following passage from 'Abdu'l-Bahá, again emphasizes this point:

      Divine Justice demands that the rights of both sexes should be equally
respected since neither is superior to the other in the eyes of Heaven.
Dignity before God depends, not on sex, but on purity and luminosity of
heart. Human virtues belong equally to all!3

      What of the importance of education? When half of the population is denied equal rights in education and in attaining to their full potential, the world is then deprived of half of its potential for progress and everyone suffers thereby. 'Abdu'l-Bahá also sheds some light upon this question as He stresses the importance of educating women as well as men in the following two passages:

      Now in the two lower kingdoms of nature we have seen that there is no
question of the superiority of one sex over the other. In the world of
humanity we find a great difference; the female sex is treated as though
inferior, and is not allowed equal rights and privileges. This condition
is due not to nature, but to education. In the Divine Creation there is
no such distinction. Neither sex is superior to the other in the sight of
God. Why then should one sex assert the inferiority of the other,
withholding just rights and privileges as though God had given His
authority for such a course of action? If women received the same
educational advantages as those of men, the result would demonstrate the
equality of capacity of both for scholarship.4
The Seeker's Passage, Vol. II, Number 1, Page 2

           This is the age of woman. She should receive the same education as
her brother and enjoy the same privilege; for all souls are equal before
God. Sex, in its relation to the exigencies of the physical plane, has
no connection with the Spirit. In this age of spiritual awakening, the
world has entered upon the path of progress into the arena of
development, where the power of the spirit surpasses that of the body.
Soon the spirit will have dominion over the world of humanity.5

      Sexism, like racism, is a divisive and disunifying influence. If you release yourself from its snare, then you can begin to benefit from the great diversity that this world has to offer and make this world a better place by allowing all the souls occupying this world to fully contribute their talents, skills and abilities, since it will take everyone working together in unity to make this world the best place it can be.
      For your consideration, I include this guidance from the Universal House of Justice on this very important subject of the equality of the sexes and its importance to the world:

. . . in light of the principle of the equality of the sexes which is set
forth in the Bahá'í Teachings. This principle is far more than the
enunciation of admirable ideas; it has profound implications in all aspects
of human relations and must be an integral element of Bahá'í domestic and
community life. The application of this principle gives rise to changes in habits
and practices which have prevailed for many centuries. An example of this is found
in the response provided on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a question about whether the
traditional practice whereby the man proposes marriage to the woman is altered by the
Bahá'í Teachings to permit the woman to issue a marriage proposal to the
man; the response is, "The Guardian wishes to state that there is absolute
equality between the two, and that no distinction or preference is
permitted. ..." With the passage of time, during which Bahá'í men and
women endeavor to apply more fully the principle of the equality of the
sexes, will come a deeper understanding of the far-reaching ramifications
of this vital principle. As 'Abdu'l-Bahá has stated, "Until the reality of
equality between man and woman is fully established and attained, the
highest social development of mankind is not possible."6

      Is there any doubt that this equality will become a reality? 'Abdu'l-Bahá answers this question in the following passage:

      . . . the entrance of women into all human departments is an irrefutable
and incontrovertible question. No soul can retard or prevent it.7

      Finally, to close this issue is one final passage from 'Abdu'l-Bahá as He compares humanity to a bird, whose wings are composed of the two sexes. This amply indicates the importance of enabling both sexes to attain unto their full development and strength:

      The world of humanity has two wings-- one is women and the other men.
Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one
wing remain weak, flight is impossible.8
The Seeker's Passage, Vol. II, Number 1, Page 3

1 From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic, quoted in Women, Jan. 1986, compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, p. 4.
2 'Abdu'l-Bahá, 'Abdu'l-Bahá in London, p. 105.
3 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 162.
4 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 161.
5 'Abdu'l-Bahá, 'Abdu'l-Bahá in London, p. 81.
6 The Universal House of Justice, from a Message dated January 24, 1993, reprinted in The American Bahá'í, November 23, 1993, p. 10.
7 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 182-183.
8 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 302.
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