Women Are Not Second-Class Buddhists
Gender inequality is difficult to rationalise in a tradition that supposedly proclaims enlightenment for all. When questioned by his faithful attendant Ananda, the Buddha assured him that women have equal potential to achieve the fruits of the path, including liberation, the ultimate realization. This definitive statement should have been sufficient to clear the path for women’s equality.
Buddhists today need to wake up to this fact and transform their habitual tendencies, equally embracing all beings with compassion. In the Buddhist traditions, the ultimate concern for women, especially nuns, is awakening—either the achievement of liberation from cyclic existence or the perfect awakening of a buddha. The fact that women are now working to achieve full representation in the Buddhist traditions and are openly voicing their aspirations reflects their compassionate concern for the well-being of all sentient life.