n many spaces, women are treated differently than men. The role of a woman is often defined by society and their choices are commonly judged. What is the role of women in the Sikh faith? Are Sikh women forced to comply to societal pressures? This article will discuss the Sikh perspective on women through the teachings of the Gurus and Sikh values. 

Women and Men are Equal

The One has no gender, and neither does our soul. Gurus have described all of us (men and women) as brides to the One, our true Soul Partner. The Gurus taught that women and men are equal. In a Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship), women and men pray together and sit on the same floor to eat. Women can work, lead congregations and be educators. The first Sikh was a woman, and the Gurus themselves appointed women preachers to spread Sikhi. Within Sikh history, Sikh women have also been soldiers and generals.

Gender-neutral Names

Interestingly, Sikh first names are gender-neutral because they relate to the Soul’s purpose. Sikhs have a surname of either Singh for men or Kaur for women. Both of these are royal surnames. Kaurs remain Kaurs their whole life, regardless of marriage.

The Unique Perspective of Sikhi

Unlike many other religions, Sikhi teaches that women are not sinful nor require a veil. It’s men’s eyes that need controlling. Women are not property, neither are slaves nor concubines permitted. Women are not polluted by menstruation, rather women’s power to give birth is honoured as the source of all humankind, including kings, and prophets. The Guru also explicitly describes the Divine One as our Mother, too. After voluntarily joining the Khalsa collective, Kaurs are armed and empowered as part of the Guru’s body. Also, Kaurs are freed from the obligation to shave or cut their hair to conform to the notion of being an ideal woman.

You can help spread the message of Sikhi to people around you by using the leaflet created by the Basics of Sikhi team.
You can also check out our other leaflets on the Downloads page.

Join Our Newsletter and Get the Latest
Posts to Your Inbox

No spam ever. Read our Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.