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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?

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Featured Panelists

The Next Step in Buddhist Equality Will Be More Challenging

The Next Step in Buddhist Equality Will Be More Challenging

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.

Like a Mother and Her Only Child: Gender and Inclusivity

Like a Mother and Her Only Child: Gender and Inclusivity

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.

Changing Gender Roles in American Buddhism

Changing Gender Roles in American Buddhism

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.

Buddhist Milestones on the Path to Gender Justice

Buddhist Milestones on the Path to Gender Justice

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?

Whose Buddhism? Whose Texts?: Observations about Religious Conversations

Whose Buddhism? Whose Texts?: Observations about Religious Conversations

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.

Buddhist Women You Should Know

Buddhist Women You Should Know

Justin Whitaker, Ph.D. Student and Blogger, "American Buddhist Perspective"

These should be known as examples of great Buddhist women.

The Ordination of Women in Buddhism

The Ordination of Women in Buddhism

Eisel Mazard, Pali Scholar

Some of the old facts and new fables are worth revisiting.

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