While we struggle for a basic acceptance of equality within the Sangha, violence and harm against women permeates our society in far more virulent and disgusting forms. In Sydney the debate about sexism and ‘pro-rape‘ websites in college culture has been reignited once again.
The link between sexism in the Sangha and wider questions of violence against women is something that has, so far as I am aware, been overlooked in this debate. Can it be a coincidence that Thailand, which has perhaps the most clearly male-only policy in the Sangha, is also notorious the world over for its prostitution and child sex-slavery?
One thing is certain: the current inactivity of the male Sangha in Thailand on these issues will change dramatically as women there find their voice. Don’t be surprised if, in the next few decades, we see the rise of the bhikkhuni Sangha in Thailand, and at the same time the decline of these appalling crimes against humanity.