Equality of women and men

Establishing the equality of women and men in society is of vital importance to human advancement and is an issue which has occupied the minds and driven the efforts of many people. The Australian Baha’i Community is keen to contribute our perspectives and experiences to the discourse on achieving equality in our country.

Great advances have been made over the years in promoting the principle of equality through the contributions of feminist thought and by numerous individuals and groups acting in different social spaces around the world. Australia has historically been a leader in this field, with South Australian women among the first in the world to obtain the right to vote. Yet despite these efforts to accord women full equality, many challenges still exist.

The Baha’i writings explain that the equality of women and men is a fundamental truth about human reality, and not just a desired condition to be achieved for the good of society. The reality of the human being is his or her soul, and the soul has no gender. Men and women exhibit physical differences that undeniably influence some aspects of how we experience the world, yet, in our essence, women and men are without distinction and neither can claim superiority over the other.

“..until woman and man recognize and realise equality, social and political progress here or anywhere will not be possible.”

Australian Baha’is work with many other people who are engaging their high ideals and spiritual nature to realise the equality of women and men, including:

  • At the local level, where women engaging in the educational process are at the forefront of transformation in their communities
  • At the national level, where the Australian Baha’i community works with others to promote gender equality, including through membership of the Equality Rights Alliance, and hosts regular discussions on the vital importance of gender equality to our collective advancement
  • At the global level, where the Baha’i International Community’s United Nations offices are working alongside the UN and civil society to create more effective and coherent mechanisms to advance gender equality

Among the questions that we seek to explore are:

  • How does discrimination against women limit the ability of all members of society to develop to their full potential?
  • How does it impact the progress and well-being of society as a whole?
  • How will progress towards equality transform various facets of Australian society: the development of intellectual life; the practice of governance; the allocation of material resources; the condition of the family?

We welcome the opportunity to explore such questions with people of all backgrounds and beliefs.