Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Buddhist Studies | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The religious traditions that help shape society’s attitudes toward women and also women’s attitudes toward themselves often send mixed messages. The world’s major religions—Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—assert that women and men have equal potential, whether for liberation or in the sight of a higher being, but social realities reveal a stark contradiction between rhetoric and reality. Women continue to lack equal representation in social, political, and religious institutions. For many, the failure of the world’s religions to live up to their professed ideals not only exposes their lack of social responsiveness to the needs of human society but is also hypocritical.


Original publication information:

"Gender Equity and Human Rights." In Thea Mohr & Jampa Tsedroen (Eds), Dignity and Discipline: Reviving Full Ordination for Buddhist Nuns. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2010, pp. 281-290.