Royal recognition for services to women

January 13, 2004

LONDON — A member of the British Baha'i community, Lois Hainsworth, will receive the award of Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) at Buckingham Palace on 11 February 2004.

The announcement of the award for services to three organizations that promote the rights of women was made in the United Kingdom's New Year's Honours List.

The citation refers to Mrs. Hainsworth's services to the Women's National Commission, the Baha'i Office for the Advancement of Women, and UNIFEM UK.

She is currently a member of the international working group of the Women's National Commission, the official, independent, advisory body that gives the views of women to the Government of the United Kingdom.

She also chairs the Women of Faith Coalition, a partner organization of the Women's Commission.

As a Commissioner of the Baha'i Office for the Advancement of Women, which represents women from all walks of life throughout the United Kingdom, she has participated in conferences on such topics as people trafficking, human rights, and the European Union.

However, her services to those organizations represent only part of her efforts in a myriad of women's groups dating back to 1958 when she represented the Baha'i community of Uganda on a subcommittee of the Uganda National Council of Women.

She has also served in senior positions on the International Council of Women, the National Council of Women of Great Britain, the European Women's Lobby, and the Women's Advisory Council of the United Nations Association of the United Kingdom.

Mr. and Mrs. Hainsworth, 2000. Slideshow
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Mr. and Mrs. Hainsworth, 2000.

Mrs. Hainsworth has also been in the forefront in Britain in the fight against trafficking in women, and the spread of pornography and HIV/AIDS.

A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, she became, in 1996, only the second woman in 130 years to be elected president of the group.

In her early career, Mrs. Hainsworth was an accomplished classical singer.

Mrs. Hainsworth has served the Baha'i Faith in many capacities.

"I would not have been able to do any of these things had it not been for a loving, totally supportive husband," said Mrs. Hainsworth, referring to the late Philip Hainsworth, with whom she raised their three children, Richard, Zarin, and Michael.

Mr. Hainsworth, who passed away aged 82 in 2001, served on elected Baha'i institutions at a high level for almost five decades, was a noted speaker, and the author of several books and numerous articles.

Mrs. Hainsworth cites as her motivation for her service the following quotation from the Universal House of Justice: "The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes, is one of the most important, though less acknowledged, prerequisites for peace."