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Education as the First Step Towards Gender Equality

Faraneh Hedayati | Jun 19, 2018

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Faraneh Hedayati | Jun 19, 2018

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

One of the main teachings of the Baha’i Faith is universal, compulsory education. Parents are held responsible for educating their children, so that no child remains uneducated.

… it is incumbent upon the father and mother to train their children both in good conduct and the study of books; study, that is, to the degree required, so that no child, whether girl or boy, will remain illiterate. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 127.

All children must receive education. But if the child is an orphan or parents can’t provide for their education expenses, the responsibility of educating that child is with the community. Also, each child must have an opportunity to learn a profession in which they can rely on themselves and further serve the community that supports them.

The education of each child is obligatory. But if parents can’t afford to send both their son and daughter to school and are forced to choose between them, priority is given to the girl, because girls are the future potential mothers of society.  

The equality of women and men is realized when both women and men receive equal education; thus, universal, compulsory education is the underlying principle for achieving gender equality. In the Baha’i teachings, even the education of girls is more emphasized.

In proclaiming the oneness of mankind He [Baha’u’llah] taught that men and women are equal in the sight of God and that there is no distinction to be made between them. The only difference between them now is due to lack of education and training. If woman is given equal opportunity of education, distinction and estimate of inferiority will disappear. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 174-175

Education is empowering. Women should empower themselves through education. They should train themselves in various skills, so that they can pass them on to their sons and daughters. In this way, they are not only empowering themselves but also empowering the next generation.

…it is incumbent upon the girls of this glorious era to be fully versed in the various branches of knowledge, in sciences and the arts and all the wonders of this pre-eminent time, that they may then educate their children and train them from their earliest days in the ways of perfection. – Abdu’l-Baha, Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice,  p. 17

For the betterment of the world, all mankind must receive education. It is up to everyone to become educated and provide means for their children to get an education as well.

We prescribe unto all men that which will lead to the exaltation of the Word of God amongst His servants, and likewise, to the advancement of the world of being and the uplift of souls. To this end, the greatest means is education of the child. To this must each and all hold fast. We have verily laid this charge upon you in manifold Tablets as well as in My Most Holy Book. Well is it with him who deferreth thereto. – Baha’u’llah, A Compilation on Baha’i Education, p. 2.

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