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Book: Power and Agency in the Lives of Contemporary Tibetan Nuns

Chapter: 1. Tibetan Women- "Extraordinarily Liberated" or "Shockingly Oppressed"?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.44137


Many tensions and conflicting views prevail when the “status” of Tibetan women is at stake. First, there is an often repeated assumption about the “high” status of Tibetan women. Second, empirical observations have shown that Tibetan women’s status as religious practitioners, especially in Tibetan monasticism, is “low.” Nevertheless, previous studies of Tibetan nuns imply that despite their “lower” status, life as a nun is also seen as providing women with opportunities and offering them more freedom, compared to the life of a laywoman. This suggests that there are a variety of factors that simultaneously draw women to monasticism and draw them away from lay life.

Chapter Contributors

  • Mitra Härkönen ( - mharkonen) 'University of Helsinki'