Seven Thai women honoured by UN
Seven Thais, including a female monk, a novice and two nuns, have made the United Nations' list of Outstanding Women in Buddhism for 2006.
They and 11 other exceptional women contributors to Buddhism from various countries are scheduled to receive the awards at the UN office in Bangkok on Tuesday. Every year, the UN honours women who have contributed to Buddhism on the occasion of UN International Women's Day, which falls on March 8.
Last year, detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was named an Outstanding Woman in Buddhism by the UN.
This year, the honour goes to female monk Thammarakhita for becoming the first woman to be ordained in Thailand, and female novice Thammamitta for pushing for the ordination of female monks. Two nuns - Ratchada Amartayakul and Sarocha Chaiket - are also being honoured for their social work and roles in Buddhism.
The three other Thai recipients are laywomen Uayporn Khuenkaew, Dr Sutheera Wijitranont and Dr Amara Malila.
Uayporn, the founder and director of the Women for Peace and Justice Project, was praised for combining Dhamma, the promotion of peaceful means and feminism with her social work. Sutheera won recognition for her support for the opening up of Buddhism classes at the bachelor's degree level to laywomen and nuns.
Amara, who is a doctorate holder and a medical doctor, has written more than 50 books on Buddhism and is a regular speaker on the subject.
Other outstanding women in Buddhism this year come from Bhutan, Cambodia, Great Britain, Australia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. They include HRH Princess Dechan Wangchuck of the Kingdom of Bhutan, Princess Norodom Morinen of Cambodia, and female monks from the United States, Taiwan and Sri Lanka.