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Gender and the Cybersangha: Buddhist women's online activism and practice
conference contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by E Tomalin, C Starkey, Anna HalafoffAnna Halafoff
The experiences of Buddhist women across the world today are widely diverse, reflecting their geographical and social location, the type of Buddhism practiced, whether they are lay or ordained, as well as their individual personalities. However, the perception that there is also a shared experience for women who practice Buddhism that is partly defined by a sense of "unequal opportunity" has given rise to a number of organizations and networks particularly since the late 1980s that aim to link this eclectic group of female Buddhist practitioners and activists. Buddhist scholars, nuns and practitioners have been at the forefront of global Buddhist organizations, challenging gender disparities and striving for equality for women in all Buddhist traditions. In recent years, more of this Buddhist women's social movement activity has been conducted digitally through websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Some organizations, such as Sakyadhita ("Daughters of the Buddha"), which was founded in 1987 before the Internet explosion, have an online presence to complement their offline activities. Others, such as the Alliance for Bhikkhunis and the Yogini Project, have been formed more recently and their web presence is fundamental, with core activities that are web-reliant, including online fundraising and the sharing of digital material. In addition to organizations that are specifically orientated towards women, Buddhist women globally make use of a wider range of web-based opportunities to network with other Buddhists as well as to learn about Buddhist traditions and practices.