CFN – In my previous column I made reference to spiritual principles we could use to reorganize our society. The principle of the equality of men and women is one of the most overlooked in terms of guiding the development of society. ‘Abdu’l Bahá described the process in this way: “…the world of humanity possesses two wings: man and woman. If one wing remains incapable and defective, it will restrict the power of the other, and full flight will be impossible. Therefore, the completeness and perfection of the human world are dependent upon the equal development of these two wings.”
The development of the capacity of women in our community is measurable. Statistics can be collected from City databases so that we can understand what is going on with the female population. How many have completed high school? What is their socio-economic status? How many children do they have? What kind of work do they do, or how many are on social assistance? From these findings our community can develop programs that assist women to further advance themselves and take on leadership in their lives, family and community.
What kind of difference would this make? I can think of many examples. Women who have education have more knowledge and can make better decisions. Educated women work and support themselves financially. They seek better partners in their personal lives. They have fewer, or no children. Often, educated women create structures to mentor and support younger women. What kind of structures do we have of this nature in Cornwall?
In the analogy of the bird with two wings it is obvious that the wings are of the same size and weight, even they would look the same. It seems that as we advance collectively and develop a world culture we are starting to blur the line of division between the feminine and masculine. I think this is a good thing. Some people refer to this blurring as becoming more gender neutral, making it so it does not matter what sex you are the activities you do are the same for everyone who participates.
Let me offer you a personal example of how this can work.
When I was a young mother I had just a high school education but I read a lot and listened to CBC radio. I was inspired by my intuition and made a decision to follow my son Jeremy’s lead in the things he was interested in as he grew and developed. It was interesting to see how he wanted to have a kitchen set and had a little front pack carrier to hold his baby teddy bear. He used to sit beside me and nurse his bear while I nursed his brother. Those tender moments are unforgettable. Now, Jeremy is the proud father of Aria and I have proof that he learned the skills of fathering as a child. He proudly carries his baby in a front pack carrier and gives her loving attention.
He also spent endless hours with Lego and has since earned degrees in education and mathematics. Giving children the choice between all kinds of different play toys is very important to developing equality in our thinking. This is just one example of how we can influence the process of changing our little corner of the world. I want to hear your thoughts on the subject of equality and how we can nurture this principle in our lovely City. I really believe that nurturing equality will help us make things better for everyone.
Shirley Barr lives and works in the city of Cornwall and is a member of the Bahá’í international community.