Category: Thailand

The Bhikkhuni Revolution: Religious Feminism in Thai Buddhism

In Thailand, Theravada Buddhism is the context for the wider ‘re-structuring’ of traditional female gender roles. The Bhikkhuni (female monk) revolution refers to the small, yet strong, movement of Thai female Buddhists wishing to be ordained and live a monastic life, on par with their male counterparts. The author highlights the structural hurdles these women will encounter, both within the religious and societal realms of Thai society. We see the Bhikkhuni movement as being an action of direct resistance against the long held male patriarchal structure of Thai society. Consequently, it is seen that the aspiration for a Bhikkhuni revival is the fundamental explanation for the interaction and interconnectivity between religion and gender relations in Thailand.