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Status of Women in Sikhism

In fifteenth century women in the Indian sub continent were treated very badly. Their status was so low that many called them "Paran di jutee" meaning shoes for the feet. Many would kill a girl upon birth. Education was only for men not for women because it was thought that their job was to solely look after the household and rear the children. Guru Nanak was the first to speak against this cruelty. He instructed his follower to call their wives "Ardhangnee" meaning half of the body; no man is complete without a woman. He said, "how can you say bad things about the personality, which has given birth to the king of kings". A woman has every right to be treated as an equal to a man. The Wives of the Guru's played an active part in assisting and helping the Gurus with their preaching.

The second Guru Angad made sure every woman who wanted to learn to read should be given a chance. He held special classes for women and helped them to achieve this.

The third Guru Amar Dass appointed many women as high priests who would preach and collect gifts on behalf of the Guru.The Guru asked women not to wear a veil as covering their faces may be a hindrance to their progress, The Guru also instructed his followers not to believe in the evil ceremony of "Sati" where a wife had to jump alive, into the funeral Pyare of her husband. The true Guru said Sati is she who looks after the children so that they become good citizens and God loving people.  Jumping into a funeral pyre and making their children orphans is the most horrible ceremony. Guru encouraged the remarriage of widows, Divorcees and stopped child marriages.

Thus women were given equal opportunity by the Gurus to progress according to their ability.