Our understanding is that “that which makes human beings human—their inherent dignity and nobility—is neither male nor female. The search for meaning, for purpose, for community; the capacity to love, to create, to persevere, has no gender. This has profound implications for the organization of every aspect of human society.” 1

As we look at our communities, our families and ourselves we see the deep effects of gender prejudice. We see how girls and women have been “restricted to narrow spheres of activity in the life of society, denied educational opportunities and basic human rights, subjected to violence, and frequently treated as less than human” 2 and “have been prevented from realizing their true potential.” 3 And how this also limits the true potential for boys and men as well.

“The damaging effects of gender prejudice are a fault line beneath the foundation of our national life. The gains for women rest uneasily on unchanged, often unexamined, inherited assumptions. Much remains to be done. The achievement of full equality requires a new understanding of who we are, what is our purpose in life, and how we relate to one another—an understanding that will compel us to reshape our lives and thereby our society.” 4

“…force is losing its dominance, 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… an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more evenly balanced.” 5

Questions for reflection and artistic exploration:

  • What are the unexamined and inherited assumptions that create gender prejudice?
  • What are examples of masculine and feminine qualities? How can we balance those qualities in ourselves? In our families, in our communities?
  • How do we bring mental alertness, intuition and spiritual qualities of love and service into our families, communities and institutions?
  • How does one reflect on deeper assumptions that generate gender inequality? How do we change those assumptions?

1 Bahá’í International Community, Equality of Women and Men, www.bic.org

2 National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Two Wings of a Bird, www.bahai.org



5 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá quoted by Esslemont, John E., Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, www.bahai.org