5 May 2009

Whiteshill resident elected to Baha'i council

I've just been talking to local press about Whiteshill resident, Zarin Hainsworth being elected to the national Baha'i governing council.

Zarin Hainsworth is President of UNIFEM UK and a long time advocate for the advancement of women - she has just been elected to the national governing council of the Baha'i community of the United Kingdom. She also locally, Chairperson of the Ruscombe Brook Action Group. Here is what she said to national press: “I am very honoured to be elected to serve in this way. In accordance with its belief in equality, the worldwide Baha'i community has been at the forefront of the movement to advance the rights of women for more than 160 years, so I am looking forward to contributing further in this regard in the UK.”

Since its inception in the mid-19th century, the Baha'i faith has taught the equality of the sexes. Its Prophet-Founder Baha'u'llah unequivocally stated that, until the equality between women and men is fully established, humanity's highest social development is not possible. "The only remedy is education, opportunity; for equality means equal qualification," say the Baha'i scriptures, "Until woman and man recognize and realize equality, social and political progress … will not be possible."

Bahá'í communities around the world promote development efforts for women, and work to raise the consciousness of both women and men about equality. They are committed to educational and social action initiatives that develop the capacity of children and young people of both sexes to play their part in the building of a healthy and equal society. At this stage, women compose approximately 30 percent of elected leadership in Baha'i councils at the national level, comparing favourably to national parliaments, which average around 10 percent women.

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the UK is elected each year in a unique process that does not allow campaigning and uses no nominations. Rather, each delegate to the Baha'i national convention - held in Llandudno, Wales - votes for the nine people whom they feel are best qualified to serve the Baha'i community for the coming twelve months. Ms Hainsworth's election comes more than sixty years after the election of her father Philip Hainsworth to the Assembly, a position he held for several decades before his death in 2001.

Further information
Zarin Hainsworth is a Trustee of Widow Rights International, a member of Gender Action for Peace and Security and active in the Associate All Party Group on Women, Peace and Security for which she is responsible for the sub groups on Iraq and Gender Training of Peace Keeping Troops. She is a Women’s Enterprise Ambassador, the co-founder and coordinator of the International Coordination for Gender Justice in Iraq and was a trustee of the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations and its chair for a number of years. She helped to establish a variety of local organisations for women in business and women of faith and was the first director of the Baha’i Office for the Advancement of Women UK. She has been President of the National Committee for UNIFEM in the UK for two years. Ms Hainsworth founded and runs her family company Serene Communications and is married with four children.

No comments: