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The Oneness of MankindUniversal PeaceIndependent Investigation of TruthThe Common Foundation of All ReligionsThe Essential Harmony of Science and ReligionThe Equality of Women and MenElimination of Prejudice of All KindsUniversal Compulsory EducationA Spiritual Solution to Economic ProblemsA Universal Auxiliary LanguageAbout the Bahá'í PrinciplesVideo Content

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Principles of the Teaching of Bahá'u'lláh:
The Equality of Women and Men

God has created all creatures in couples. Man, beast, or vegetable, all the things of these three kingdoms are of two sexes, and there is absolute equality between them.

In the vegetable world there are male plants and female plants; they have equal rights, and possess an equal share of the beauty of their species; though indeed the tree that bears fruit might be said to be superior to that which is unfruitful.

In the animal kingdom we see that the male and the female have equal rights; and that they each share the advantages of their kind.

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.

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The Mansion at Bahji, Akka, Israel
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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.

In some respects woman is superior to man. She is more tender-hearted, more receptive, her intuition is more intense.

It is not to be denied that in various directions woman at present is more backward than man, also that this temporary inferiority is due to the lack of educational opportunity. In the necessity of life, woman is more instinct with power than man, for to her he owes his very existence.

If the mother is educated then her children will be well taught. When the mother is wise, then will the children be led into the path of wisdom. If the mother be religious she will show her children how they should love God. If the mother is moral she guides her little ones into the ways of uprightness.

It is clear therefore that the future generation depends on the mothers of today. Is not this a vital responsibility for the woman? Does she not require every possible advantage to equip her for such a task?

Therefore, surely, God is not pleased that so important an instrument as woman should suffer from want of training in order to attain the perfections desirable and necessary for her great life's work!

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!

Woman must endeavour then to attain greater perfection, to be man's equal in every respect, to make progress in all in which she has been backward, so that man will be compelled to acknowledge her equality of capacity and attainment.

In Europe women have made greater progress than in the East, but there is still much to be done! When students have arrived at the end of their school term an examination takes place, and the result thereof determines the knowledge and capacity of each student. So will it be with woman; her actions will show her power, there will no longer be any need to proclaim it by words.

It is my hope that women of the East, as well as their Western sisters, will progress rapidly until humanity shall reach perfection.

God's Bounty is for all and gives power for all progress. When men own the equality of women there will be no need for them to struggle for their rights! One of the principles then of Bahá'u'lláh is the equality of sex.

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The Archives, Bahá'í World Centre, Mt. Carmel, Haifa, Israel
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Women must make the greatest effort to acquire spiritual power and to increase in the virtue of wisdom and holiness until their enlightenment and striving succeeds in bringing about the unity of mankind. They must work with a burning enthusiasm to spread the Teaching of Bahá'u'lláh among the peoples, so that the radiant light of the Divine Bounty may envelop the souls of all the nations of the world!

('Abdu'l-Bahá: Paris Talks, Pages: 160-163)

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View a larger picture. 2010-02-02 BRISBANE, Australia — Traditional Pacific island bark cloth stenciled with designs depicting a vision of a "New Garden" was one of the artworks commissioned for a prestigious exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery.

The sixth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art – APT6 – is now well into its four-month run and features works by some of the best-known artists of the Pacific region.

Prominent New Zealand artist Robin White was invited to participate, with organizers mentioning a possible collaboration with a tapa artist from Fiji. Eventually Mrs. White proposed that she work with two Fijians, Leba Toki and Bale Jione.

All three artists are Baha'is and used their vision of a future society to inspire their work.

"What we wanted to do was to present our vision of what Fiji could be – and what it will be," said Mrs. White.

In Fiji, she explained, almost all of the world's great religions are represented by a significant portion of the population – Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, and a small but growing Baha'i community.

"That makes it special," she said. "Somehow we wanted to get that idea across."

The tapa – or masi, as the Fijians call the craft of tapa and the plant from which it is made – is traditionally made for a wedding, and the artists indeed used that concept.

"The idea was not about a literal wedding between two individuals but rather the idea of a marriage of cultures – namely the indigenous and Indian cultures that constitute contemporary Fijian society – connected by bonds of love and respect," Mrs. White said.

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