Scripture that pits man against woman is not consistent with the bani of our Gurus and is contradicted by Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj ji. I have copied some portions from an article Woman: The Sikh Perspective taken from the site Sikhism - Reflections On Gurbani. Because the articles at that site are updated frequently, the site owner asks that entire articles not be pasted, and that a link to the site be offered. WOMAN - THE SIKH PERSPECTIVE Woman - The Sikh Perspective The Sanskrit word for woman is "Stree". Its modified form in Punjabi is "Istree". To understand the significance and the importance of the role woman plays in the human society, it is essential to understand the underlying meaning of this Sanskrit word. In nutshell, "Stree" simply means "expansion". ... As alluded to in the Gurbani, without woman both the husband's family and the parents' family are zero. The practical implication is that without woman, there would be no one at all. Because she is the source of man's physical existence. Hence, she is sometimes called the mother of the universe. The name "Stree" thus signifies her empowerment, courage, patience, devotion, dignity, and strength. The following Shabad of Baabaa Nanak in the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) shows the honorable status held by woman in Sikhism. In the Slok of the Bani popularly know as Asa Di Var - pronounced Aasaa Dee Vaar - Baabaa Nanak says: • ਮਃ ੧ ॥ ਭੰਡਿ ਜੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਨਿੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਮੰਗਣੁ ਵੀਆਹੁ ॥ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਚਲੈ ਰਾਹੁ ॥ ਭੰਡੁ ਮੁਆ ਭੰਡੁ ਭਾਲੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਬੰਧਾਨੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਕਿਉ ਮੰਦਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਤੁ ਜੰਮਹਿ ਰਾਜਾਨ ॥ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੀ ਭੰਡੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਭੰਡੈ ਬਾਝੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਭੰਡੈ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਏਕੋ ਸਚਾ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਸਦਾ ਸਾਲਾਹੀਐ ਭਾਗਾ ਰਤੀ ਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਮੁਖ ਊਜਲੇ ਤਿਤੁ ਸਚੈ ਦਰਬਾਰਿ ॥੨॥: Ma: 1 || Bhand janmeeai bhand ninmeeai bhand mangan veeaahu || Bhandahu hovai dosatee bhandahu chalai raahu. Bhand muaa bhand bhaaleeai bhand hovai bandhaan || So kio mandaa aakheeai jit jammahi raajaan || Bhandahu hee bhand oopajai bhndai baajh na koi || Nanak bhandai baaharaa eko sachaa soi ||Jit mukh sadaa saalaaheeai bhaagaa ratee chaar || Nanak te mukh oojale tih sachai darabaar ||2||: Ma: 1. From woman, (man) is born; within woman, (man) is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married. With woman (man) establishes friendship; through woman, the future generations come. When woman dies, (man) seeks another woman; because of woman, (man) becomes related (to other people - ਲੈਣ-ਦੇਣ ਦੇ ਸਾਰੇ ਸੰਸਾਰਕ ਬੰਧਾਨੁ, etc.). From her, (even) kings are born; so why call her bad? From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all. O Nanak, only the True Lord is without woman (i.e., He is Unborn, etc.). That mouth which praises the Lord continually is blessed and fortunate. O Nanak, those faces are radiant in the Court of God. ||2|| (sggs 473). ... Thus, woman is a fountain of human values and good qualities. In fact, all souls (man and woman alike) are bestowed with these spiritual qualities. Therefore, all of us have the ability to negate or enhance their positive effects in our lives. For example, if someone is famous as a righteous man, that makes him glorious. Sweet speech is derived from the vibratory sound of the Shabad. Memory is the power of continuity of awareness. Through the power of discriminating intelligence (Viveka-Budhi), the ignorant man gains intuitive wisdom. Intuition is the fixity of the mind in Truth or its "Joti-Svaroopa". The ability to overcome unsteadiness is steadfastness, and the ability to remain intuitively balanced amidst the feelings of "likes" and "dislikes" is patience. Whatever we do from a heart filled with selfless love is Truth, Dharma, peace, wisdom and compassions. ਧੀਰਜੁ ਜਸੁ ਸੋਭਾ ਤਿਹ ਬਨਿਆ॥ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸ੍ਰਵਨ ਜਿਹ ਸੁਨਿਆ ॥: Dheeraj jas sobhaa tih baniaa. Har har naam sravan jih suniaa: Patience, glory and honor come to those who listen to the Divine Name (sggs 257). ਜੋ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਵਹਿ ਸੇ ਸਦਾ ਸੋਹਹਿ ਸੋਭਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸੁਹਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: Jo har sevahi say sadaa sohahi sobhaa surat suhaavaniaa: Those who serve God are always beautiful. The glory of their intuitive awareness is beautiful (sggs 122). ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਅਖਰੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਗੁਣੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਮਣੀਆ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਵੇਸੋ ਹਉ ਕਰੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਵਸਿ ਆਵੈ ਕੰਤੁ ॥੧੨੬॥ ਨਿਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਅਖਰੁ ਖਵਣੁ ਗੁਣੁ ਜਿਹਬਾ ਮਣੀਆ ਮੰਤੁ ॥ ਏ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਭੈਣੇ ਵੇਸ ਕਰਿ ਤਾਂ ਵਸਿ ਆਵੀ ਕੰਤੁ ॥੧੨੭॥: Kavan su akhar kavan gun kavan su maneeaa mant. Kavan su veso haou karee jit vas aavai kant. Niwan su akhar khavan gun jihba maneeaa mant. Ye trai bhaine ves kar taa vas aavee kant ||127||: What is that word, what is that virtue, and what is that magic Mantra? What are those clothes, which I can wear to captivate my Husband Lord? ||126|| Humility is the word, forgiveness is the virtue, and sweet speech is the magic mantra. Wear these three robes, O sister, and you will captivate your Husband God ||127|| (sggs 1384). These glorious feminine attributes can be tapped in meditation (Jap or Naam-Simran). Once they are awakened in the bosom from their dormant condition, the life has to become glorious. When their mystery is so unlocked within, the light of these attributes must illumine the entire body-mind-intellect apparatus. Ironically, in one hand the man wants to awaken these spiritual ideals and virtues in his bosom so that he can link with God, his Pure Self. But the same time he wants to denigrate the woman by calling her "the doorway leading to the most rigorous hell" ("Narak ghor kaa dwaaraa or Duaaraa "), "Pair kee jootee" (equal to footwear), "slave", and so on! The Gurbani condemns such hypocrisy. ਹਾਥ ਕਮੰਡਲੁ ਕਾਪੜੀਆ ਮਨਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਉਪਜੀ ਭਾਰੀ ॥ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਤਜਿ ਕਰਿ ਕਾਮਿ ਵਿਆਪਿਆ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇਆ ਪਰ ਨਾਰੀ ॥: In his (Sannyaasi) hands is the begging bowl and he wears a patched coat like a mendicant's but with him is immense craving. And though he abandons his own wife, he's attached to another's, lured by sex-desire (sggs 1013). In India, in addition to dowry system, woman for centuries have been systematically downgraded by many ways by the religion and priest class (Pujaaree Group). For example, they were falsely labeled by the priest class as spiritually "impure" due to menstruation; they were forced to burn in the pyre of their husbands (Satee); they were deprived of education (material and spiritual) and equal rights for property and inheritance; they were considered unfit for spiritual advancement or salvation; they were subjected to economic, social, and cultural oppression; they were regarded as a source of sin, vice or dishonor to man and thus labeled as bad influence on him; they were considered hurdle to man's spiritual journey; they were declared as not very intelligent and trustworthy; some went to the extent to suggest women being alike animals in meaning or significance; and so on. This sort of attitude towards woman has promoted social degradation of the status of women as well as social inequality between man and woman. As a result, the attitude towards women as subordinate remains not only in India but throughout the world. In some cultures and religions it's worse than others. In the western cultures, the woman is generally looked at as a sex symbol — she is praised only if she has good looks. In the middle eastern cultures, the woman is virtually treated as a slave, accentuating social, economic and cultural inequalities. Thus, the woman who is full of so many wonderful spiritual qualities is today considered something very small, insignificant, unintelligent, weak, lowly and is relegated a backward place and neglected. Not only discriminated against, women are also denied the freedom and opportunity to develop their full potentials. They are considered inferior to man in all respects. This is nothing but ignorance. On account of this ignorance, it is unfortunate today that respecting woman is considered a shame and unmanly. ... The Gurbani's (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) perspective is the Sikh perspective. In the Gurbani, the both man and woman are considered equal; one is incomplete without the other. They both are but a complementary force. Accordingly, the Gurbani regards the woman as "Ardhaaganee": man's other half (ਮਨੁੱਖ ਦੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਹਰ ਵੇਲੇ ਦੀ ਸਾਂਝੀਵਾਲ, etc.,) to the doorway to spiritual liberation (Mukti). All Sikh Masters were the great reformers. They worked to reform and redefine the social and religious fabric of the human society. They made men and women equal partners and showed them the path on which both could walk to meet their material needs, and then advance to achieve the spiritual prosperity. The social evil of dowry, Satee Prathaa (or Sati Pratha) , suppression of woman, etc., are condemned in the Gurbani. To reawaken women and uplift their status in the society, plenty of feminine symbols have been used in the Gurbani in this context. ਅਰਧ ਸਰੀਰੀ ਨਾਰਿ ਨ ਛੋਡੈ ...: Aradh sareeree naari na shodai ...: Woman is the other half of a man's body (ਮਨੁੱਖ ਦੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਹਰ ਵੇਲੇ ਦੀ ਸਾਂਝੀਵਾਲ, etc.), and she never leaves him... (sggs 477). ਲੋਕ ਵੇਦ ਗੁਣੁ ਗਿਆਨ ਵਿਚਿ ਅਰਧ ਸਰੀਰੀ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੀ ।: Lok ved gun giaan vich aradh sareeree mokh duaaree: From a temporal and spiritual point of view, women is half man's body (ਮਨੁੱਖ ਦੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਹਰ ਵੇਲੇ ਦੀ ਸਾਂਝੀਵਾਲ, etc.) and (assists thim to) the doorway to liberation (Bhai Gurdaas, Vaar 5, Pauri 16). ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਬਾਬੁਲਾ ਹਰਿ ਦੇਵਹੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਮੈ ਦਾਜੋ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕਪੜੋ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਭਾ ਦੇਵਹੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਸਵਰੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਕਾਜੋ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਕਾਜੁ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ਗੁਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਦਾਨੁ ਦਿਵਾਇਆ ॥ ਖੰਡਿ ਵਰਭੰਡਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਭਾ ਹੋਈ ਇਹੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਨ ਰਲੈ ਰਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਹੋਰਿ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਦਾਜੁ ਜਿ ਰਖਿ ਦਿਖਾਲਹਿ ਸੁ ਕੂੜੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਕਚੁ ਪਾਜੋ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮੇਰੇ ਬਾਬੁਲਾ ਹਰਿ ਦੇਵਹੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਮੈ ਦਾਜੋ ॥੪॥: Hari prabh mere Baabulaa Hari devahu daan mai daajo ...: O my father, please give me the Name of the Lord as my wedding gift and dowry. Give me the Lord as my clothes (wedding gown, etc.), and the Lord (His Name) as my glory, to accomplish my works (of getting wedded to the Lord). Through devotional worship to the Lord, this effort (of wedding) is made blissful and beautiful; the Guru, the True Guru, has given this gift. (Through this gift of the Lord's Name, one's) glory (ਸੋਭਾ) pervades across the continents, and throughout the Universe. This gift is such that no other (dowry) is equal to it (ਇਹ ਦਾਜ ਐਸਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਇਸ ਨਾਲ ਹੋਰ ਕੋਈ ਦਾਜ ਬਰਾਬਰੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰ ਸਕਦਾ). Any other dowry, which the self-willed Manmukhs (materiallistics, etc.) offer for show, is only false egotism, (like a worthless piece of a) glass, and a worthless display (of falsehood). O my father, please give me the Name of the Lord as my wedding gift and dowry. ||4|| (sggs 78). ... If mankind as a whole wants to bring harmony, prosperity and peace to the world, then, as indicated in the Gurbani, man and woman must walk together on the path of Truth with selfless love, faith, mutual respect, determination and courage. For this to prevail, both man and woman have to live fully in his or her own unique nature or respective realm, in uplifting and positive spiritual vibration. In other words, to improve, both man and woman need conducting and behaving virtuously, respecting each other's sentiments, avoiding areas of conflict, ruthlessly shunning all their differences, and treating each other with honor and dignity. ... In the final analysis, as one ascends towards Higher Consciousness, one must transcend all labels including the one of "man" or "woman". Because — from the standpoint of Higher Consciousness — as indicated in the Gurbani there is no male or female (or duality)! It's just One mass of homogeneous Consciousness there. Distinctions, differences, conflicts, divisions, and duality exist only so long the mind's conditioning persists (Haume or false ego-sense, attachments, self-limitation etc.). The Gurbani asks us to abandon the mind's defects and seek that Higher Consciousness (the Source) Within, where there is no differences — no wife or husband, no man or woman, no lover or beloved, no this or that. In the following verses, Baabaa Nanak points to this state of Higher Consciousness that we must realize Within by becoming Gurmukh or Brahm-Giaanee. Because, before the rise of the phantom called mind, that's what we all were! ਨਾਰਿ ਨ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਕਹਹੁ ਕੋਊ ਕੈਸੇ ॥: Naar na purakh kahhu ko-oo kaisay: He is not male, and He is not female; how can anyone describe Him? (sggs 685). ਨਾਰਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਜਨਮਾ ਨਾ ਕੋ ਦੁਖੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਦਾ ॥੪॥: Naari purukh nahee jaat n janamaa naa ko dukh sukh paaidaa ||4||: (Before the rise of material consciousness) neither there was female, nor male, nor caste, nor birth nor did any one suffer pain or pleasure ||4|| (sggs 1035). ਸਰਬ ਭੂਤ ਏਕੈ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਚੂਕੇ ਬਾਦ ਬਿਬਾਦਾ ॥: Sarab bhoot ekai kar jaaniaa chooke baad bibaadaa: I look upon all beings alike, and my conflict and strife are ended (sggs 483).