"Qurratu'l-'Ayn, (1817-1848) a Bah�'�, was a poetess. She discomfited the learned men of Persia by her brilliancy and fervor. When she entered a meeting, even the learned were silent. She was so well versed in philosophy and science that those in her presence always considered and consulted her first. Her courage was unparalleled; she faced her enemies fearlessly until she was killed. She withstood a despotic king, the Shah of Persia, who had the power to decree the death of any of his subjects. There was not a day during which he did not command the execution of some. This woman singly and alone withstood such a despot until her last breath, then gave her life for her faith." (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 74)
There must be an equality of rights between men and women... For the world of humanity possesses two wings: man and woman. If one wing remains incapable and defective, it will restrict the power of the other, and full flight will be impossible. 'Abdu'l-Bah�
So it will come to pass that when women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world, when they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease...
(Abdu�l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace" p. 135)
According to the spirit of this age, women must advance and fulfill their mission in all departments of life, becoming equal to men. They must be on the same level as men and enjoy equal rights. This is my earnest prayer and it is one of the fundamental principles of Bah�u�ll�h. (BNE p. 147)(COC vol II, p. 390)
At a time when conquest and aggression have lost their credibility as means of solving difficult problems, qualities in which women are strong, such as the capacity to link intuition to the other rational processes, and facility with networking and cooperation, are gaining importance. Thus as increasing numbers of women are admitted into centers of decision-making, consultation is being enlightened by fresh perspectives; a new moral and psychological climate is spreading, enabling new dynamics of problem-solving to emerge. The inclusion of women thus directly affects the pace and success of the peace-building process. (Baha'i International Community, 1993 Mar 15, Women Peace Process)
Until the reality of equality between man and woman is fully established and attained, the highest social development of mankind is not possible. Even granted that woman is inferior to man in some degree of capacity or accomplishment, this or any other distinction would continue to be productive of discord and trouble. The only remedy is education, opportunity; for equality means equal qualification. (COC #2169, vol II, p. 387)
Women and girls must be educated -- spiritually, emotionally and intellectually -- because a mother cannot pass on what she does not have. A child needs a nurturing environment and wise guidance in the first years of life in order to develop sound character and a well trained mind. If the mother is unable, because of her own deficiencies, to provide her children with experiences which will equip them for later, formal schooling, they will find themselves at a serious, often crippling, disadvantage. It must be stressed, however, that this dual responsibility of developing the child's character and stimulating his intellect also belongs to the family as a whole, including the father and grandparents, and to the community. (Baha'i International Community, 1991 Apr 22, Girl Child)
The concept of sustainable development itself has emerged largely in response to a growing disillusionment with the prevalent development models and an increasing collaboration among three great forward-looking movements -- peace, the environment and women's emancipation. A crucial element common to all three movements is the significant role played by women. For decades, development planners neglected the needs of women, paid scant attention to the deterioration of the environment, and failed to discern the connection between development and peace. As a result, development failed. The convergence of these movements has amplified women's voices and strengthened their call for a sustainable future for their children and their children's children.
As women help to redefine development, planners are beginning to take a more holistic approach. (Baha'i International Community, 1992 Mar 11, Women Development)
Therefore, this story of Adam and Eve who ate from the tree, and their expulsion from Paradise, must be thought of simply as a symbol. It contains divine mysteries and universal meanings, and it is capable of marvelous explanations. Only those who are initiated into mysteries, and those who are near the Court of the All-Powerful, are aware of these secrets. Hence these verses of the Bible have numerous meanings. We will explain one of them, and we will say: Adam signifies the heavenly spirit of Adam, and Eve His human soul. For in some passages in the Holy Books where women are mentioned, they represent the soul of man. (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 123)
Domestic violence is a fact of life for many women throughout the world, regardless of race, class, or educational background. In many societies traditional beliefs that women are a burden make them easy targets of anger. In other situations, men�s frustration is vented on women and children when economies shrink and collapse. In all parts of the world, violence against women persists because it goes unpunished. (Bah�� International Community, 1993 Jun 11, Women�s Rights)
Question: Is it not a fact that universal peace cannot be accomplished until there is political democracy in all the countries of the world?
Answer: It is very evident that in the future there shall be no centralization in the countries of the world, be they constitutional in government, republican or democratic in form. The United States may be held up as the example of future government -- that is to say, each province will be independent in itself, but there will be federal union protecting the interests of the various independent states. It may not be a republican or a democratic form. To cast aside centralization which promotes despotism is the exigency of the time. This will be productive of international peace. Another fact of equal importance in bringing about international peace is woman�s suffrage. That is to say, when perfect equality shall be established between men and women, peace may be realized for the simple reason that womankind in general will never favor warfare. Women will not be willing to allow those whom they have so tenderly cared for to go to the battlefield. When they shall have a vote, they will oppose any cause of warfare. Another factor which will bring about universal peace is the linking together of the Orient and the Occident. (PUP p. 167)
Equality between men and women does not, indeed physiologically it cannot, mean identity of function. In some things women excel men, in others men are better than women, while in very many things the difference in sex is of no effect at all. The differences are most apparent in family life. The capacity for motherhood has many far-reaching effects. For example, because of this, daughters receive preference in education over sons. Again, for physiological reasons, women are granted exemptions from fasting that are not applied to men. (The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 272)
The woman is indeed of the greater importance to the race. She has the greater burden and the greater work. Look at the vegetable and the animal worlds. The palm which carries the fruit is the tree most prized by the date grower. The Arab knows that for a long journey the mare has the longest wind. For her greater strength and fierceness, the lioness is more feared by the hunter than the lion. The woman has greater moral courage than the man; she has also special gifts which enable her to govern in moments of danger and crisis.... (�Abdu�l-Bah� in London, pp. 102-3)(COC, #2178, vol II, p. 390)
There is not such a woman from one end of the earth to the other, both for beauty of face, and wisdom of words. (Deuterocanonical Apocrypha, Judith 11:19)
"The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man has dominated over women by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is already shifting -- force is losing its weight and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age, less masculine, and more permeated with the feminine ideals -- or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more evenly balanced." ('Abdu'l-Bah�: LOG, p. 615)
2186. The effulgence of the rays of the Sun of Truth is abundant and the favours of the Blessed Beauty surround the women believers and the handmaidens who have attained unto certitude. At every moment a bounteous bestowal is revealed. The handmaidens of the Merciful should seize the opportunities afforded in these days. Each one should strive to draw nigh unto the divine Threshold and seek bounties from the Source of existence. She should attain such a state and be confirmed with such a power as to make, with but the utterance of one word, a lowly person to be held in reverence, initiate him who is deprived into the world of the spirit, impart hope to the despondent, endow the portionless one with a share of the great bestowal, and confer knowledge and insight upon the ignorant and the blind, and alertness and vigilance on the indolent and heedless. This is the attribute of the handmaidens of the Merciful. This is the characteristic of the bondsmaids of God's Threshold.
O ye leaves who have attained certitude! In the countries of Europe and America the maidservants of the Merciful have won the prize of excellence and advancement from the arena of men, and in the fields of teaching and spreading the divine fragrances they have shown a brilliant hand. Soon they will soar like the birds of the Concourse on high in the far corners of the world and will guide the people and reveal to them the divine mysteries. Ye, who are the blessed leaves from the East, should burn more brightly, and engage in spreading the sweet savours of the Lord and in reciting the verses of God. Arise, therefore, and exert yourselves to fulfil the exhortations and counsels of the Blessed Beauty, that all hopes may be realized and that the plain of streams and orchards may become the garden of oneness. Upon ye, men and women, be the glory of glories.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian) (The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 394)
On the first afternoon, while driving, he expressed much interest in rural England, marvelling at the century-old trees, and the vivid green of the woods and downs, so unlike the arid East. "Though it is autumn it seems like spring," he said. The houses with their little plots of ground, suggested a quotation which �Abdu�l-Bah� gave from Bah�u�ll�h�s writings in which the latter alludes to each family having a house with a piece of land. �Abdu�l-Bah� likened the country to the soul and the city to the body of man, saying, "The body without the soul cannot live. It is good," he remarked, "to live under the sky, in the sunshine and fresh air." Observing a young woman who rode by on horseback with her hair flying free and several who bicycled past on their bicycles unattended, he said, �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.� ~�Abdu�l-Bah� in London, p. 81)
�You must excuse me for keeping you waiting, Dr Grant. I am very, very sorry to have kept you waiting, very sorry. But I was captured
by three hundred women this afternoon. Is it not a dreadful thing to be captured by so many women?� (At this I felt wickedly amused.)
�The women in America dominate the men,� the Master continued. (The Diary of Juliet Thompson)
The women, with their opposable thumbs,
were probably the first to shape clay figures,
at least 22,000 years ago. Think of it!
...humming and dreaming of their own swelling shapes.
And from their dried experiments came cuniform writing.
They also put seeds in the clay, while the men hunted,
and settlements began to be stacked up with bricks
of squished clay and stubble from the harvested fields.
And we know girls like Rebecca and Rachel watched sheep,
and probably encouraged dogs to help them watch sheep.
Thus, women collected the elements needed to civilize the polis!
Vivacious Virginity Vouchsafed