The Bahá’í teachings simultaneously assert the equality of men and women while advocating in some cases distinct duties according to gender. Since the Bahá’í Faith also teaches that religious convictions should be examined by the “standards of science,” this ostensible paradox invites careful study. At the heart of the response to this query is the Universal House of Justice statement that “equality between men and women does not, indeed physiologically it
cannot, mean identity of functions.” To appreciate and to accept this thesis that there can be gender distinction, even insofar as the assignment of fundamental tasks is concerned, without any attendant diminution in the role of women, we must turn to statements in the Bahá’í writings about the complementary relationship between men and women. Through a careful consideration of this principle, we can discover how there can indeed be gender distinction without inequality in status or function.
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Copyright © 1990 John S. Hatcher