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The Official Website of the Malaysian Bahá’í Community
The Bahá’í Office for Gender Equality
The Bahá’í Office for Gender Equality serves under the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’í s of Malaysia.
The Office for Gender Equality collaborates with government agencies and civil society organisations to raise consciousness on the principle of the equality between women and men. An active affiliate of the National Council of Women’s Organisations, Malaysia (NCWO), The Office for Gender Equality’s representatives serve as the Hon Assistant Secretary General of NCWO as well as the Chairperson of the Youth Commission.
“The world of humanity is possessed of two wings:
the male and the female.
So long as these two wings are not equivalent
in strength, the bird will not fly.
Until womankind reaches the same degree as man,
until she enjoys the same arena of activity,
extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized;
humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment.
When the two wings become equivalent in strength,
enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man
will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary.”
Nationwide Women's Conferences
In Malaysia, as it is in the global Bahá’í community, women work hand in hand with men in building society. Their full contribution toward the establishment of a world civilization is possible, Bahá’ís believe, because of the all-pervasive spiritual power released in this age which has erased all limitations preventing the fulfilment of human potentialities. One of the potentialities hidden in the realm of humanity was the capability or capacity of womanhood. The capacity of woman has become so awakened and manifest in this age that equality of man and woman is an established fact.
Since the early days of the Bahá’í Faith in Malaysia, many programmes and initiatives have been developed to promote the principle of the equality between women and men. One of the early initiatives was the nationwide women’s conferences held to create a deeper understanding of the important role women.
Collaboration with UNIFEM – Traditional Media As A Change Agent
Equal Wings Campaign for the Advancement of Women
Specially designed workshops were held for married couples and young adults throughout Malaysia with engaging interactive sessions which fostered further learning on the dynamics of the principle of equality in relationships.
In the 80s, the Baha’i International Community collaborated with UNIFEM in the programme “Traditional Media As A Change Agent”. Malaysia participated in this three-country project which aimed to stimulate improved social and economic development in the entire community by first uplifting the status of women through the use of traditional media presentations. Read more...
Gender equality has taken centrestage in current development discourses and the Malaysian Bahá’í community contributes to this critical area of development by engaging in various national fora on the subject and through the following initiatives and programmes:
Gender Equality – What Does It Take?
Gender Equality: What does it take and whose problem is it were some of the questions discussed at the table talk organised by The Office for Gender Equality. Five young adults; men and women from various backgrounds shared their perspectives on the status of the advancement of women as well as the progress towards gender equality in Malaysia and globally. Held in conjunction with International Women’s Day, this programme is a series of discourses aimed at engaging young adults in addressing gender equality and its impact on both women and men. Read more...
Capacity Building in the International Arena
In 1995 as Malaysia was preparing to participate in the historic Beijing Women’s Conference, NCWO as the South East Asian Focal Point for Family and Youth Issues appointed The Office for Gender Equality to organize several workshops for to be held at the parallel NGO Forum in Huairou. The Office for Gender Equality collaborated with the Bahá’ís of Singapore and Philippines and conducted workshops on family consultation, legal rights, poverty among others. The Malaysian Bahá’ís were joined by 500 Bahá’í women and men from around the world. Read more...
The Office for Gender Equality held pre- and post-conference workshops as well as facilitators training programmes in conjunction with this historic conferences.
Bahá’í representatives continue to participate in major international and regional conferences and programmes.
In 2002, the ABLAZE Bahá’í Youth Workshop developed “Equal Wings” a theatre production and workshop was conducted for 2000 young women and men across Malaysia. The programme was run in collaboration with NCWO’s Youth Commission and sponsored by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development. It engaged participants to consider thought provoking ideas on gender, rights, equality and the oneness of humankind. ABLAZE went on to be nominated in a category of the BOH Cameronian Awards which recognizes unique performing art productions.
Over the next few years, The Office for Gender Equality organized a few more programmes which again used the medium of performing arts to convey concepts on gender equality. Some of these include:
For the Love of Peace was a musical performed by girls between 8 and 14 years, portraying the various principles of the Bahá’í Faith including the equality between men and women. Waging Peace on Equal Wings, another production of the ABLAZE Bahá’í Youth Workshop, presented a global perspective on the concept of equality through monologue, song and dance. Inside/Outside was a production on stereotyping, family relationships and decisions that naturally confront young married couples. The programme was held in a home theatre style where there was minimal expenditure thus creating a model for thought provoking, engaging and cost effective sustainable programmes.
Breast Cancer Awareness @ neighbourhoods – was part of an awareness programme that The Office for Gender Equality collaborated with both the National Council of Women’s Organisations, Malaysia (NCWO) as well as the Breast Cancer Women’s Association, Malaysia. The unique feature of the programme was a segment that involved the participation of men i.e. husbands and sons of breast cancer survivors who were part of the MENCARE programme initiated by NCWO.
Breakfast with Mentors – Held in its third year now, Breakfast with Mentors is a program organised by the Youth Commission of the National Council of Women’s Organization (NCWO) in collaboration with Baha’i Office for the Advancement of Women (The Office for Gender Equality). Its purpose is to provide a space for young adults to gather and learn from the experiences of their peers, or individuals with experience in a particular field.
Office for Gender Equality
Advancing the Status of Women
Participating in Gender Equality Discourse
Awareness Through The Arts
Breakfast with Mentors
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