In past ages it was held that woman and man were not equal—that is to say, woman was considered inferior to man, even from the standpoint of her anatomy and creation. She was considered especially inferior in intelligence, and the idea prevailed universally that it was not allowable for her to step into the arena of important affairs.
The conditions in past centuries were due to woman’s lack of opportunity. She was denied the right and privilege of education and left in her undeveloped state. Naturally, she could not and did not advance.
In reality, God has created all mankind, and in the estimation of God there is no distinction as to male and female. The one whose heart is pure is acceptable in His sight, be that one man or woman. God does not inquire, “Art thou woman or art thou man?” He judges human actions. If these are acceptable in the threshold of the Glorious One, man and woman will be equally recognized and rewarded. Dignity before God depends, not on sex, but on purity and luminosity of heart. Human virtues belong equally to all!
Why then should one sex assert the inferiority of the other, withholding just rights and privileges as though God had given His authority for such a course of action? If women received the same educational advantages as those of men, the result would demonstrate the equality of capacity of both for scholarship.In some respects woman is superior to man. She is more tenderhearted, more receptive, and her intuition is more intense.
It is not to be denied that in various directions woman at present is more backward than man, also that this temporary inferiority is due to the lack of educational opportunity. In the necessity of life, woman is more instinct with power than man, for to her he owes his very existence.
Furthermore, the education of woman is more necessary and important than that of man, for woman is the trainer of the child from its infancy. If she be defective and imperfect herself, the child will necessarily be deficient; therefore, imperfection of woman implies a condition of imperfection in all mankind, for it is the mother who rears, nurtures and guides the growth of the child.
If the mother is educated then her children will be well taught. When the mother is wise, then will the children be led into the path of wisdom? If the mother is moral she guides her little ones into the ways of uprightness. It is clear therefore that the future generation depends on the mothers of today.Is not this a vital responsibility for the woman? Does she not require every possible advantage to equip her for such a task?
The purpose, in brief, is this: that if woman be fully educated and granted her rights, she will attain the capacity for wonderful accomplishments and prove herself the equal of man. She is the coadjutor of man, his complement and helpmeet. Both are human; both are endowed with potentialities of intelligence and embody the virtues of humanity. In all human powers and functions they are partners and co-equals. At present in spheres of human activity woman does not manifest her natal prerogatives, owing to lack of education and opportunity.
Woman must endeavor then to attain greater perfection, to be man’s equal in every respect, to make progress in all in which she has been backward, so that man will be compelled to acknowledge her equality of capacity and attainment.
Without doubt education will establish her equality with men. Consider the animal kingdom, where no distinction is observed between male and female. They are equal in powers and privileges. Among birds of the air no distinction is evidenced. Their powers are equal; they dwell together in complete unity and mutual recognition of rights. Shall we not enjoy the same equality? Its absence is not befitting to mankind.
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