What’s the importance of the family in society? Are men and women the same? What value, particularly, do women have to social peace and harmony? If women have a special role, how is it best accomplished? This article from First Things gives a simple and interesting perspective. As an introduction to the article, here is a quote from Prabhupada that makes the same point…
This is from a lecture by Srila Prabhupada about the value of family and women:
“We were student of economics and there was a book, Marshall’s Economics. That Mr. Marshall is explaining that economic impetus begins from family affection, family affection. Unless one has got family, he will not try to earn. He will not try to earn money. He will be irresponsible. Therefore it is essential. When one is given some responsible post… Some… I know some English firm in India, I had some connection with him. So he was simply trying to know, “The man who is going to work for us, whether he is family man?” Because unless he is a family man, he has no attraction. He can give up the job at any moment. Because there is no family attraction. This is the psychology. Therefore according to Vedic civilization, it is the duty of the parents to get the sons and daughters married so that they will have family attraction, they will be established, they will be organized, things will go nicely. If there is no family attraction, no responsibility, then the things will not go nicely. This is the basic principle.
So anyway, the family attraction is required for regulated life. If there is no family attraction, there is no regulated life. We have got very good experience of these things. So family attraction required. It is not that it is rejected. It is required for regulated life. Unregulated life cannot make any progress. Therefore, in the Vedic civilization, the grhastha-asrama is recommended. Everyone should be married and everyone should live.”