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Book: Buddhism in Five Minutes

Chapter: 35. Does Buddhism Support Gender Equality?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.40774


Historically, many Buddhist traditions around the world have treated women as inferior to men. There is, however, nothing in basic Buddhist ethical principles or foundational Buddhist doctrine that supports such a view. Quite the opposite, in fact. The basic answer to the question, therefore, is that Buddhism supports gender equality in principle, but Buddhist traditions have not always done so in practice. The reason for this is likely ingestion of social norms and cultural values from traditional societies, which considered women to be inferior to men, as these are the types of societies within which Buddhism first arose and existed for centuries.

Chapter Contributors

  • Alice Collett ( - collett) 'York St John University'