Equality of men and women is needed for us to reach our potential
Today is the International Day of the Girl Child. It is a global priority to focus attention on distinct challenges girls face such as physical violence, lack of education and child marriage, particularly in countries prone to conflict and chaotic living conditions.
This year’s theme centres on digital access and technological opportunity. Nowhere is the powerlessness of female children seen more acutely. Although global internet use is growing, so is the gender gap male to female – internationally from 11 percent in 2013 to 17 percent today. In less developed nations, girls lag by 43 percent and only 15 percent in two-thirds of countries graduate in the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics [STEM] courses which would admit them to higher paid and more portable employment.
The Baha’i community, inspired by the principles of the faith, has consistently looked to work towards gender equality. It is guided by the belief that until both sexes attain equal consideration and treatment, neither will reach its true potential.
Abdul Baha, the son of the Prophet/Founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah, had noted in 1911 at a talk given in Paris that the ability of men to embrace gender equality makes the difference: “God’s Bounty is for all and gives power for all progress. When men own the equality of women there will be no need for them to struggle for their rights!”
Overcoming attitudes and practical barriers toward gender equality will take time, patience, and persistence. This is a matter of spiritual evolution and there’s nothing to be gained by conflict or power struggles. Rather, dedication and the constant evaluation and reconfiguring of our core values in relation to gender prejudices will result in lasting changes.
To that end, we should all be asking ourselves on this commemorative occasion how our attitudes toward gender equality are making a positive difference.
Originally published on the UKBaha'i Site