Women in Sikhism
Guru Nanak sought to elevate the status of women in Sikhism
Guru Nanak insisted that women deserve the same treatment as men. The holy scriptures of Sikhism state that women are entitled to the same rights and privileges as men, and women are allowed to lead congregations, as well as serve as spiritual leaders in the Sikh faith.
In a woman, man is conceived, From a woman he is born, With a woman he is betrothed and married, With a woman he contracts friendship. Why denounce her, the one from whom even kings are born ? From a woman a woman is born, None may exist without a woman.-Guru Nanak
When Sikhism was founded, Guru Nanak’s decision to advocate for the equal status of women was revolutionary. During Guru Nanak’s time, women were not given economic freedom, education, or independence, and were never seen in the political realm. They were expected to serve men and to quietly run the household.
After Guru Nanak experienced the revelation of truth and he understood the equality of all people, he began to speak out against the long subjugation of women, questioning the traditions of oppression that had long condemned them to remain in the shadows of life.
Today, Sikhism encourages women to seek leadership roles in the faith, including leading congregations. Women work with men during langar (community kitchen) and join the sangat (congregation), as well as participate in all other social and religious activities in the gurdwaras (Sikh place of worship).