|"The tenth principle of his Highness Bahaullah is the unity of men and women; for in the view of God men and women are equal. They are all from the human race and the descendants of Adam. Because being male or female is not specific to the human race. Plants have male and female and animals too have male and female and there is no distinction. Look at the plant kingdom. Is there any distinction between male plants and female plants? Rather there is complete equality; and in the Animal kingdom too, there is no distinction at all. They are all under the shadow of God’s mercy.” "|
|Abdul Baha, Khatabat (Tehran), vol. 2, pp. 149-150|
Abdul Baha likens men and women to a bird’s two wings. He says: The human world, like birds, needs two wings. One women and the other men. Flight is not possible with one wing. A shortcoming of one wing will cause hardship for the other.
Abdul Baha, Khatabat (Tehran), vol. 2, pp. 134
From the teachings of his highness Bahaullah is the unity of women and men, for the human world has two wings. One wing is men and the other wing women. The bird will not fly unless both wings are equal. If one wing is weak flight is not possible. Unless the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in attaining virtues and accomplishments, prosperity and salvation will be impossible and unfeasible.
Abdul Baha, Makatib (Egypt), vol. 3, pp. 107
Abdul Baha believes the difference between men and women is rooted in how they are brought up and nurtured:
Up to now, the reason women lagged behind men was because women were not nurtured like men. If women were nurtured like men, there is no doubt that they would have become like men. When they attain the virtues of men, they will surely reach the rank of equality.
Abdul Baha, Khatabat (Tehran), vol. 2, pp. 150
Men and women are both humans and the servants of one Lord. In the presence of God there is no such thing as man and woman. Whoever has a purer heart and better actions is closer to God, whether he is a man or a woman. The differences we see now are caused by differences in nurturing for women are not nurtured like men. If they are nurtured like men they will become equal in all ranks, because they are both humans and share the same ranks. God has made no distinction.
Riyaz Qadimi, Gulzar-i ta`alim Bahai, p. 283
Bahais preach that if the world is to reach peace and unity, women must be allowed to attain the highest social, national, and international positions without discrimination and limitations, and be given the right to freely implement their views.
Bahai leaders have tried to portray themselves as women’s rights advocates in order to make their creed more appealing to the modern society. Shoghi Effendi says:
Bahais worldwide have the opportunity to show the world that they have achieved a new style concerning the relation between the two sexes. Aggression and the use of force have been obliterated and they have been replaced with co-operation and consultation. If women’s stature in the Bahai teachings is properly exhibited, it will definitely attract more attention.
Extracts from one of Shoghi’s letters to the National Assembly of Iran dated 7 June 1931
By expressing sympathy for women - especially the women in Iran - Shoghi tries to portray Bahaism as a creed with equal rights for the genders.
The Universal House of Justice writes in a letter dated 20 June 2008: "There are, of course, many pressing issues that occupy the minds of those striving to promote the prosperity and well-being of Iran. Chief among them is, no doubt, the critical need to remove barriers hindering the progress of women in society . . . You are particularly well placed to contribute to the promotion of this principle . . . Many of your compatriots are eager to see the realization of the universal principle of the equality of men and women. They will no doubt welcome you to join them in learning how to promote, step by step, conditions that enable the women of Iran to overcome impediments blocking their progress and participate fully, as equals of men, in all areas of human endeavour."
When Bahai teachings are more closely analyzed, it is apparent that there is no equality in rights, rather, there is a great inclination towards men.
The articles have been based on the book "Avaze Dohol" - the Beating of the Drum by Masoud Basiti, Zahra Moradi.