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Old 08-12-2014, 02:43 PM   #1
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Women and the peace process

Good morning

First, a link to the news item on the Australian ABC news site which prompts this post. The purpose is to focus on the comments about women and their involvement in the peace process - the carnage and other acts of violence from both sides can be read anywhere else.

Natasha Stott-Despoja sickened by violence in Gaza, considers it "outrageous" women not involved in peace process - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

I would particularly like to draw attention to her comments at the beginning and then in the body of the news item:

Quote:
Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls says she has been sickened by the bloody violence suffered by children in Gaza and says it is "lamentable and outrageous" that women are not involved in the peace process.
Quote:
Ms Stott-Despoja says women are a key part of achieving peace and should be better represented in the Gaza peace negotiations.
There are quotes in the Baha'i Texts and other authoratative (and other) works. Others can find them and bring them to the table.

With greetings

Romane
 
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Old 08-13-2014, 03:34 PM   #2
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What is happening to children and women is so terrible it almost leaves you speechless.

Woman by nature is opposed to war; she is an advocate of peace. Children are reared and brought up by the mothers who give them the first principles of education and labor assiduously in their behalf. Consider, for instance, a mother who has tenderly reared a son for twenty years to the age of maturity. Surely she will not consent to having that son torn asunder and killed in the field of battle. Therefore, as woman advances toward the degree of man in power and privilege, with the right of vote and control in human government, most assuredly war will cease; for woman is naturally the most devoted and staunch advocate of international peace.
'Abdu'l-Baha'

The newscaster is spot on, women need to be more involved in the peace process.

Last edited by becky; 08-14-2014 at 04:25 PM.
 
Old 08-13-2014, 09:09 PM   #3
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I don't think females should be involved in the peace process on the basis of what people would call stereotypically feminine qualities such as "motherhood." Men can have those qualities as well, women can be fatherly, and women are not always by nature more peaceful. Nor are men (and now women) who go into combat inherently aggressive and overly masculine. But excluding 50% of the world's population from any position of power or peacemaking (and I stress ANYTHING- you probably get what I'm saying here when it comes to religion and the Baha'i Faith, but I can send a PM as well) because of any qualities a gender is presumed to possess either is preposterous. So include women on the basis that they're people, not "because they're women."
 
Old 08-13-2014, 11:01 PM   #4
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If I may disagree completely with the statements by SmilingSkeptic preceeding this post. The sentiments I can appreciate and accept - in a world we have not yet reached; preach them to me again then. In the world we have now, they will serve no more than to perpetuate the status-quo.

Women have been, over the centuries, excluded solely for the fact that they are women. Yes, there have been many great women and powerful too, but these are the rare exception.

Look at the legacy of disallowing women solely because of their gender. Look at the conditions in the world, borught about by the decision-making of men. I am a man, and I am ashamed at what our heavily male-dominated processes have achieved. And even the women who have been involved in our political and other male-dominated fields have had to compete in a male manner, just to survive. Ambition is good, but when it perverts the natural inner conditions, then it becomes an evil.

Quote:
In past ages humanity has been defective and inefficient because it has been incomplete. War and its ravages have blighted the world; the education of woman will be a mighty step toward its abolition and ending, for she will use her whole influence against war. Woman rears the child and educates the youth to maturity. She will refuse to give her sons for sacrifice upon the field of battle. In truth, she will be the greatest factor in establishing universal peace and international arbitration. Assuredly, woman will abolish warefare among mankind.
('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.108)
Is this what the leaders among the men fear? That they will be shown up for their ineffectiveness? That perhaps a woman (I can hear it in the back corridors of the parliaments of the world - 'good heavens, a woman !!') should show us males up as failing at achieving an equitable society when in the leadership and other influential spheres?

So let a woman with the right capabilities be chosen over a male of equal capability every time - solely because she is a woman. We, the males, have proven in the leadership field, that we prefer aggression and dominance to peace, that we prefer political manouverings for our own benefit over the benefit of human kind, and that we prefer to twist the women who become involved into our own ideal of dominance and aggression. It is time for a change.

Quote:
Rest ye assured! Ere long the days shall come when the men addressing the women, shall say: ‘Blessed are ye! Blessed are ye! Verily ye are worthy of every gift. Verily ye deserve to adorn your heads with the crown of everlasting glory, because in sciences and arts, in virtues and perfections ye shall become equal to man, and as regards tenderness of heart and the abundance of mercy and sympathy ye are superior’.
('Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p.183-4)
The male and the female are the two wings of our species. Both wings need to be of equal strength for this bird to fly. But have any males felt that it is the males who are the weaker of the two wings? Something to ponder:

Quote:
Abdu'l-Bahá smiled and asked: "What will you say if I prove to you that the woman is the stronger wing?"

The answer came in the same bright vein: "You will earn my eternal gratitude!" at which all the company made merry.

'Abdu'l-Bahá then continued more seriously: "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 mere size of the brain has been proved to be no measure of superiority. 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. If necessary she can become a warrior."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 102)
Enough of the paltry materialistic excuses and reasonings. It is time for change.

With greetings

Romane
 
Old 08-13-2014, 11:08 PM   #5
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My point is that people should be chosen for leadership and peacemaking purposes just because they are qualified- without regard for gender at all. It would be like Barack Obama only picking Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State due to her gender. Instead, he picked her for her vast foreign policy experience.
 
Old 08-13-2014, 11:24 PM   #6
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Fields prize

Quote:
Originally Posted by Romane View Post

Romane
. In response to:

. "Rest ye assured! Ere long the days shall come when the men addressing the women, shall say: ‘Blessed are ye! Blessed are ye! Verily ye are worthy of every gift. Verily ye deserve to adorn your heads with the crown of everlasting glory, because in sciences and arts, in virtues and perfections ye shall become equal to man, and as regards tenderness of heart and the abundance of mercy and sympathy ye are superior’.
('Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p.183-4)

. Comment: How about that Iranian woman who just won the Fields prize for mathematics. ;-)

. Now is it just "coincidental" that the first woman to win such a prize in a historically male only club comes from "Iran" at this point in time? Hmmm... Tahireh's ghost is shaking her head and smiling... ;-) ??????
 
Old 08-13-2014, 11:42 PM   #7
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SmilingSkeptic

It appears that you have missed, for whatever reason, a couple of words in my post. I will repeat them here exactly as they appear above :

Quote:
So let a woman with the right capabilities be chosen over a male of equal capability every time - solely because she is a woman.
Romane
 
Old 08-13-2014, 11:44 PM   #8
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Good morning Dale

Quote:
Originally Posted by dale ramsdell View Post
. Now is it just "coincidental" that the first woman to win such a prize in a historically male only club comes from "Iran" at this point in time? Hmmm... Tahireh's ghost is shaking her head and smiling... ;-) ??????
Yes, I smiled when I saw that news item. Against all odds, in a materialsitic manner of speaking.

Lets those who have eyes, see, and those who have ears, smell the scent of attar of rose.

With my warmest greetings

Romane
 
Old 08-14-2014, 03:50 AM   #9
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So... why no membership of the Universal House of Justice for women?
 
Old 08-14-2014, 08:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarastro View Post
So... why no membership of the Universal House of Justice for women?
Dear friend, this is an old walnut, I will leave others to respond with the longer answers.
But the short answer is because God has made it so, at this time.
The reason, well I am sure there could be many, the one that springs to mind at this moment, is, so that it will be a tests of faith to many, and raise questions like yours. Loving big smile
 
Old 08-14-2014, 09:09 AM   #11
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We basically do not know why. It honestly makes no sense at present. When I explained my new faith to my wife I found the fact women were specifically restricted from being in the Universal House of Justice to be embarrassing.

I don't really know that many Baha'is as I am not really well attached yet to my local community, and do not want to discuss controversial subjects with them, but it does seem sometimes like the thing out of place in the room that no one wants to talk about. The Master said the reason would be more clear later (or something to that effect), and so patience must take course. I have my hypotheses, none of which have to do with inequality, but I will keep them to myself.

I do wonder though, if that was a decision that could have been modified at a later time by a future Guardian. I wonder, again, this is just as a new Baha'i, if by not appointing a successor Guardian, by Shoghi Effendi, if the system henceforth has been somewhat flawed. I am not saying it is, I am just wondering.

It would seem that prior to that time, the Baha'i faith was perhaps the most liberating socially progressive movement on earth. Now it must always be locked in a moment in time, and time will move on, and it will not for 800 years? I wonder about this. It does not stop my faith in the Baha'ullah or his message, however. Just again, a new person looking inward from the back row of chairs.
 
Old 08-14-2014, 11:21 AM   #12
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'Abdu'l-Baha said that the reason why women are not permitted to serve on the Universal House of Justice has nothing to do with women not being equal to men. In all the quotes on the subject the Baha'i Writings say that women definitely are equal to men and at least one quote by 'Abdu'l-Baha says that in certain ways women are actually superior to men. Of course in some ways men are superior to women. So equal doesn't necessarily mean identical.

Being a member of the Universal House of Justice is not the same as rising to the top in some other sort of organization. There is no fame or fortune or perks that go with it. It's a supreme act of service to humanity. Even when a letter comes from this body it is merely signed The Universal House of Justice. No names.

'Abdu'l-Baha also said that in the future the reason why women are exempt from serving in this way will become as clear as the noon day sun. This says to me that something is going to change in society whereby it becomes obvious why this is.

There are many theories out there, and most are undoubtedly wrong. My own personal theory is probably wrong too, but it has to do with the fact that society at present is pretty blind about the importance of motherhood. There is another instance in the Writings where there is seeming inequality and that has to do with the education of children. Of course the Faith teaches the importance of universal education, but in some areas of the world people can't afford to educate all the children. 'Abdu'l-Baha says that if you have two children and can only afford to educate one, then it's the girl who should take precedence over the boy because she is the future educator of her children, and if mothers are imperfect then the human race will be imperfect. Of course mothers in this vision are educated and spiritually enlightened and really educating their children. 'Abdu'l-Baha also said:

Quote:
Every child is potentially the light of the world—and at the same time its darkness; wherefore must the question of education be accounted as of primary importance. From his infancy, the child must be nursed at the breast of God’s love, 131 and nurtured in the embrace of His knowledge, that he may radiate light, grow in spirituality, be filled with wisdom and learning, and take on the characteristics of the angelic host.
 
Old 08-14-2014, 02:00 PM   #13
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Anyway: wonderful quote of 'Abu'l-Baha, Suzanne9!
 
Old 08-14-2014, 02:06 PM   #14
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Dear Suzanne9

A very good response, and yes the faith is in early days as yet.
 
Old 08-14-2014, 04:12 PM   #15
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Good morning friend Sarastro

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarastro View Post
So... why no membership of the Universal House of Justice for women?
An excellent question, but one which we cannot yet give an excellent answer. 'Abdu'l-Baha states that it is for a reason that will become obvious with time. From an authoratative source, best that can do at the moment.

Which leaves me to delve only in personal opinion, thoughts and ideas, so please recognise that and know that as much as I may speak the truth on this matter, I equally can speak not-truth on the subject. Until proven one way or the other, it should be treated as pure supposition.

In another thread I stated that this Faith should be seen always as a wholistic oneness. In examining what it in the Writings, it is noticed that there are constant references to there being evreything in pairs. Reward and punishment. Trust and resignaton. Plus many others, easy enough to find via a trawl through the Writings.

This includes male and female. The two wings needed for the human species to fly in the heavens of knowledge and understanding, material and spiritual progress. Though each wing is, in all practical respects, identical, yet on a bird it can be seen that they are on opposite aspect. There are qualities in a female which are more predominat than in a male, and likewise there are qualities in a male more predominant than in a female. This is not that the other does not have that quality, but that the quality is expressed more by one than by the other. And it is these strengths which help to keep the flight of the bird stable, smooth and purposeful, without flapping around in circles instead of flying straight toward the goal.

This duality extends into the roles of each within the broader context of society. If one examines with care the two roles of men and women, complimentary and mutually supportive, one sees that woman carry the greater responsibility, for it is women who have the formative power and capacity to create a society, and leadership depends on that quality-defining role. If the women fail in their role, then the leadership will likewise fail, while if the leadership fail, it can be replaced with better candidates.

Thus, there is the important, then there is the most important, and woman have been gifted with the most important.

There is only one other thing that I would bring forward, and that is the following. It is found in Note 44 of the Kitab-i-Aqdas in the middle of a discussion regarding inheritance:

Quote:
He explains that this provision is an expression of the law of primogeniture, which has invariably been upheld by the Law of God. In a Tablet to a follower of the Faith in Persia He wrote: “In all the Divine Dispensations the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright.” With the distinctions given to the eldest son, however, go concomitant duties. For example, he has the moral responsibility, for the sake of God, to care for his mother and also to consider the needs of the other heirs.
And no, I do not think that your question is aside from the subject of this thread, as it provides an opportunity for everyone to consider other aspects to the qualities that each gender has in greater predominance than the other, and how this fits in with the peace process. For is not sending a son to war to be killed the antithesis of creating a society. Does not war tear down a society instead of building it up?

There are other threads better dedicated to the subject if one wishes to go into a discussion solely on the reasons for the absence of women from the Universal House of Justice.

With my very warmest greetings

Romane
 
Old 08-14-2014, 04:20 PM   #16
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Good morning Suzanne

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzanne9 View Post
'Abdu'l-Baha said that
I think I like your summation better than my more long-winded one.

With my warmest greetings

Romane
 
Old 08-14-2014, 06:38 PM   #17
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There is a study, Princeton maybe, that argues that the US is no longer a democracy, it is now more accurately an oligarch. This is a serious state of affairs in which the will of the people is now deemed irrelevant and business interests direct the affairs of state. So of course women need to be heard and obeyed but in the bigger picture none of us have any say in how our tax dollars are spent or how our sons are deployed. We vote in a system in which the gathering of money is the most important criteria.

Rather than putting even more on women's plates it seems logical to me that we men need to wake up! We suppress the very force that is the salvation of humanity. So indeed it is obvious we are the weak wing of the bird of the species. Women, in spite of some very organized suppression, continue to excel in all fields, while men, continue to kneel at the altar of violence, in spite of redundant, crystal clear evidence that long term it only perpetuates the problems, we, in general, seem ever more incapable of fixing. We are destroying the world and everything good in it to prop up our miserable egos and discredited dogmas.

Of course when I say we, it is the whole of men indicted. Still we can all play a role in our emancipation from the male stereotypes that bind us to Rambo solutions and porn inspired misogyny. It is hard to sit in a group of North American men and say, no I don't think killing thousands of Palestinians is right. Both sides are in error, we need to find peaceful ways of settling our problems. Not sure most men can hear the voice of reason any longer, we are in a crisis of conscious and sanity. God help us!
 
Old 08-15-2014, 12:10 AM   #18
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Thanks, Romane. However in re-reading what I wrote I realised I hadn't actually made my point yet, so maybe I should have tarried a while and been a bit more long-winded.

Rightly or wrongly, my point is that serving on the Universal House of Justice is one sort of service which often takes up a great many years of a person's life. I imagine in the future when they are guiding much of humanity they will need to be ready to serve 24/7. Serving as a mother in the sense that 'Abdu'l-Baha meant is another sort of service which women need to be on call 24/7 and it takes up years of one's life.

Women serve in all sorts of capacities which are the very highest level of the world of humanity, and certainly are just as capable of serving on the Universal House of Justice as men. Bahiyyih Khanum, the sister of 'Abdu'l-Baha, was a woman who led the Baha'i World pretty much single handedly for months at a time when Shoghi Effendi was in Switzerland. Women were also Hands of the Cause of God who helped to steer the Baha'i Community during the years between the passing of the Guardian and the election of the Universal House of Justice.

But my own personal funky guess is that in the future spiritual age people won't work such long hours in general as they do at present, and society will realise the importance of both children and mothers to the society. And when people do realise the importance of motherhood, women will tend to take more time off in the beginning, and will be granted time whenever their children need it when they are working. However the Universal House of Justice will need to stand ready to serve 24/7.

As I said before, serving on the Universal House of Justice is not rising to the top of the Baha'i World and something to be hoped for, but an extreme sacrifice, and, imho, God wouldn't ask that particular sacrifice of women, since He is already asking an equally important one. However, perhaps more to the point, God wouldn't ask that sacrifice of children.

Anyway, just my own thinking. But if I'm right, society will evolve spiritually to the point that this all becomes totally obvious. However right now women are still struggling to break free from having been banned from a lot of things because of their gender and because of motherhood, and fathers are struggling to be equal partners in raising children, so this is not the right time to say it. I really do think there's a very good reason that 'Abdu'l-Baha kept silent about the reason, and I do believe Him when He says that one day it will just naturally become clear as the noonday sun. Whatever the reason, it will one day become so obvious people will think it odd that we just couldn't imagine it.

All best wishes,

Suzanne
 
Old 08-15-2014, 01:16 AM   #19
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Good morning Suzanne

You have very well brought out that the Universal House of Justice membership is not a position to aspire to, but a service to be rendered. And likewise, though I know quite a number of women who aspire to motherhood, motherhood is ultimately in the sense as a service to be rendered. Both serve, in their own ways, very important and necessary functions of society. Taken in connection with the emphasis in the Sacred Texts regarding the need for the individual tyo become a servant to society rather than to themselves, of finding their best in that service to society rather than in service to their self, the concept looks to hold some promise.

But as you said - for the future when the reason is obvious. Till then, we abide in trust and patience.

Had never thought of that 24/7 connection. My thanks for bringing it to my attention.

With warmest greetings

Romane
 
Old 08-15-2014, 01:40 AM   #20
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Hi Romane,

Thanks. It makes sense to me that in the Golden Age people will have very different, more spiritual, priorities which we can't understand or appreciate now. A child can't appreciate the views of a mature adult. So, whether my theory is right or wrong, the idea that it will all become clear in the future makes sense to me, and I think this is the central point. So I guess I was pretty long-winded after all.

Warmest regards,

Suzanne
 
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