The Bahá’ís of Botswana join our fellow countrymen in standing up in the fight against inhumane acts of violence against any members of our society.
Gender based violence has become so deeply entrenched in the world. It is a symptomatic manifestation of a chronic disease affecting our society. The Bahá’í community believes that this disease from which our progress and prosperity is so severely crippled is, in part due to the failure to recognise the equality of men and women.
“As such, the eradication of violence requires not only changes in law and policy, but more fundamental changes at the level of culture, attitudes and beliefs. Such changes must be grounded in the conviction that the equality of women and men is not only a goal to be achieved, but a truth about human nature to be acknowledged and embraced... The very essence of what makes us human is neither ‘male’ nor ‘female.’ ...equality goes beyond a tally of resources or a set of social norms. It reflects the nobility inherent in every human being.” Bahá’í Holy Scriptures.
In light of this, in order to eliminate gender-based violence completely, we as an entire community must collectively realize and embody the spiritual truth of this principle.
The Bahá’í Holy Writings affirm that ‘’women and men have been and always will be equal in the sight of God”.2
Our community’s prosperity is bound up with the equal participation of both men and women. For “the world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. Humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment. When the two wings become equivalent in strength, enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary.”3
The premise of the equality of men and women requires spiritual and moral education and translated action within our communities. These spiritual qualities of love, justice, equality, and compassion to name a few, should be taught and practiced at the core of our society, in the family home and in schools.
Equality of Men & Women: A New RealityJust over two centuries ago, and for the first time in the history of revealed religion, Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, proclaimed the equality of man and woman. He supported this principle by laws requiring the same standard of education for women as for men, and equality of rights in society.
Equality of the sexes is, for Bahá’ís, a spiritual and moral standard essential for the unification of the planet and the unfoldment of world order. Without the qualities, talents, and skills of both women and men, full economic and social development of the planet becomes impossible.
Unity and Equality in the FamilyThe Bahá’í world community has, for more than one hundred years, accepted as truth the principle of equality of the sexes and has understood the importance of implementing this standard in individual, family, and community life.
This unity and equality, rooted in the rights and responsibilities of every person before God, unfolds in the family. Here, values and attitudes essential for the development of the individual, the community, the nation, and humanity must be taught from early life. In the Bahá’í view the family being a human unit must be educated according to the rules of sanctity. The integrity of the family bond must be constantly considered and the rights of the individual members must not be transgressed. The injury of one shall be considered the injury of all; the comfort of each the comfort of all; the honour of one the honour of all.
Equality in Education and TrainingAlthough both parents share in the overall responsibility of educating the children, the mother is given recognition as the first educator of humanity, and she must be carefully prepared for this task. Her education, in fact, from the Bahá’í point of view, is more necessary and important than that of man, for woman is the trainer of the child from its infancy. If she be defective and imperfect herself the child will necessarily be deficient.
An Equal VoiceA great responsibility is, however, placed on woman to develop her potentialities fully. She must make every effort 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.
Certainly, the well-being of mankind depends on the development of the potential virtues and abilities of every individual, regardless of race, nationality, class, religion, or sex. For this reason prejudices, which cause division and oppression, are systematically abolished in Bahá’í community life.
Today, in the Bahá’í world community, in over 200 nations and territories, women are joining with men in building a global society. Their full contribution toward the establishment of a world civilization is possible.
The Bahá’ís of Botswana offers its prayers for the victims and their families of Gender Based Violence, and “charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity…A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love”. Bahá’í Holy Scriptures.
The Bahá’ís of Botswana
Statement from the Office of Public Affairs
Forging a path to Gender Equality.
Bahá’ís of Botswana
Bahá’í communities are working together with their neighbours and friends to promote and contribute to the well-being and progress of society. In urban centres and rural villages, in homes and schools, citizens of all backgrounds, classes and ages are participating in a dynamic pattern of life, taking part in activities which are, at once, spiritual, social and educational.