Today, March 8,2009, is International Women's Day. I want to share with my readers a passage from my anthology story. It focuses in on Abdu'l-Baha's desire for the attainment of equal rights by women.
"Abdu’l-Baha had learned from other New Yorkers that the City had earlier played host to a suffrage advocacy group, a collection of women who were bold enough to parade their support for women’s rights out in public. Someone had even shown Abdu’l-Baha a picture of ten of these women, walking down one of New York’s streets, and carrying a sign emblazoned with the words:
WE WERE VOTERS OUT WEST!
WHY DENY OUR RIGHTS IN THE EAST?
Armed with such information, this true opportunist would surprise his audience with his knowledge, using his characteristic gesticulations to explain the Baha’i teachings on the equality of the sexes.
On another occasion Abdu’l-Baha met privately with Mrs. Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society. During that meeting Abdu’l-Baha turned to Annie and said, 'Give me your reasons for believing that women should have the vote.'
Annie had replied, 'I believe that humanity is a divine humanity and that it must rise higher and higher, but it cannot soar with only one wing.'
Abdu’l-Baha was pleased with this answer, smiling as he came forth with another question: 'But what will you do if one wing is stronger that the other?'
Annie had an answer to this question as well. She stated firmly, 'Then we must strengthen the weaker wing, otherwise the flight will always be hampered.'
Abdu’l-Baha was so impressed by Annie’s answers that he later integrated her allegory into his own teachings. He declared that humanity could not fly unless it used both its wings, both men and women. "