Australian Baha'i Sites

Marching towards a better future for all humanity

Up in Darwin, the Baha’i Fast starts a little differently. Amid soaring wet-season temperatures and humidity that makes you sweat in ways you never knew you could, the community makes the conscious choice to march through the city streets, decked out in purple.

It’s not how one might imagine spending a day with no food or drink on offer, but when the cause is gender equality, sometimes you just have to get out and march!

March 8th has been commemorated around the world as International Women’s Day since 1977 when the United Nations adopted the date. It’s a day to reflect on important issues in the progress of women’s rights, reflect on the women who’ve changed the world, and to advance gender equality.

In the City of Darwin, the council organises a purple-themed festive walk through the city streets. It kicks off with a Welcome to Country and traditional smoking ceremony by local Larrakia mob before the procession heads off in the wake of the city’s brass band.

Baha’is in 2023 at the annual march with a banner proclaiming the Baha’i principle of the equality of women and men

For over a decade, the local Baha’i communities in Darwin and Palmerston have joined the march, walking the streets carrying banners proclaiming the principle of the equality of women and men, and the importance it holds not just for women, but for all of human affairs.

The Darwin Baha’is have identified that one of the best ways to advance the principles of the Faith is to combine efforts with like-minded people from all walks of life. This march offers a unique opportunity every year to share a principle we deeply believe in with the world. The event is attended by the media and government officials, including the Chief Minister for the Northern Territory.

The 2014 City of Darwin march with the local Baha’i community fielding a banner featuring ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s quote “Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving-kindness for all who may cross your path”.

“The world of humanity has two wings – one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha

While it might not be the easiest way to start the Fast, it certainly is rewarding. Similar events are held around Australia, and offer a wonderful opportunity for Baha’is and friends to lend their voices (and feet) to an important cause.

Thanks for reading.

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Darwin

The Top End Baha'i community includes Darwin and Palmerston communities, is home to many diverse multicultural neighbourhoods, and is part of traditional Larrakia country.

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Published in February, 2024, in Community Stories > Reflections

Available online at: horizons.bahai.org.au/community-stories/marching-for-gender-equality/

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