While immigrant Buddhist communities often retain their traditions of male leadership—as priests, monks, and dharma instructors—many contemporary Buddhist centers are exploring new ways to integrate women into leadership roles. At the same time, a disturbing rise in abuse and inappropriate conduct has highlighted a need for greater attention to teacher-student relations and physical and emotional well-being.
Given the long centuries of Buddhist history and the entrenched traditions that create obstacles for women who seek leadership roles, what are the risks and benefits of opening Buddhist leadership to women? What are the philosophical, theological, and ethical resources upon which such efforts at greater inclusivity can draw? How can different streams of Buddhist tradition each contribute to conversations about gender equality?
James Coleman, Author and Professor
While the obvious institutional and doctrinal barriers to full gender equality have largely been removed, Western Buddhist groups are still profoundly influenced by the patriarchal culture in which they are embedded.
Gary Gach, Author, Panelist, and Keynote Speaker
We need to back up to view gender beyond hierarchies or dualism, and thus consider mutual transformation and healing.
Charles S. Prebish, Author and Professor
The rapidly increasing community of female teachers bridges the gap between the small community of monastic members and the significantly larger number of female lay practitioners.
Christopher Queen, Scholar and Lecturer
Who could have predicted that revivals inspired by generations of reformist women would foster the birth of powerful global organizations?
Paul David Numrich, Professor and Author
Buddhist conversations about greater inclusivity and gender equality in leadership will no doubt include testing every perspective against Buddhist standards.
Justin Whitaker, Ph.D. Student and Blogger, "American Buddhist Perspective"
These should be known as examples of great Buddhist women.
Eisel Mazard, Pali Scholar
Some of the old facts and new fables are worth revisiting.