“Women and men have been and will always be equal in the sight of God.”
So wrote Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, some 150 years ago. If you believe, as I do, that He was delivering the directions God wants us to follow for the next thousand years or so (more like 850, as of now), then that statement is a spiritual reality.
Anything that varies from that statement isn’t true and never has been. The notion that women were or are inferior is indicative of human failings, period. That doesn’t mean that women and men are the same. Each has different strengths and tendencies, both positive and negative. But in capacity, capability, and station, we are equal.
In fact, according to additional material from Bahá’u’lláh and explained by His son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, any perceived inequity between men and women is largely due to unequal education and subsequent opportunity over time. (Which is one reason why Bahá’u’lláh calls for the equal education of sons and daughters. And if that’s not possible, He calls for the education of daughters.)
So, looking at the current world situation, what would happen if we changed our lens?
How would things be different if we didn’t look at equality as an aspiration, but a fact?
What if, at this moment, every human being recognized that equality has been true from time immemorial and will be true to time immemorial?
I have a feeling many people point to the eradication of wage gaps, more equitable leadership representation, more favorable prosecution of gender-based crime, etc. And I agree.
And … what about the elimination of preference for mothers in custody cases? What about the expectation of equal responsibility for actions in all circumstances? What about an equal requirement to register for the draft (already in place in some countries, but not in the U.S.)?
I realize this will not be a popular point to make, but I think it’s important for us to consider that the recognition of the reality of equality does not translate to men changing or giving things up while women remain the same or get things.
Instead, it requires a wholehearted and universal shift in our comprehension of our roles, behavior, and expectations as men and women.
Give it a go! Leave a comment to let me know how you think things would change, whether you like them or not. I’m curious to see your ideas!