Abstract: The Thai Bhikkhuni Movement and Women’s Empowerment

by Dr. Emma Tomalin

This paper discusses the recent emergence of a movement in Thailand that aims to critique and transform patriarchal values supported by the Theravada Buddhist tradition through introducing female ordination (bhikkhuni ordination). The paper argues that there is a relationship between the low status of women in Thai Buddhism and the inferior status of women in Thai society. The introduction of female leadership roles in Thai Buddhism could play a role in balancing the gender hierarchies within the tradition as well as in society more broadly.