I was recently asked if women could become Buddhist monks and if so, what were they called. Although it’s a simple question, the answer can become a little convoluted. As with any other religion, Buddhism has many offshoots, sects and backgrounds based on the country you happen to be in.
For the most part, the name for any woman who embraces a monastic lifestyle is referred to as a nun. This may seem like an oversimplification. Although mostly a modern English term, the word monk has been used to refer to both men and women in some monastic circles.
There are different terms in India, Thailand and other parts of the world, depending on what aspect of Buddhism the person in question may be involved with (Tibetan, Theravada or Mahayana). I’m smart enough not to try and spell them correctly, but you can Google “female Buddhist monk” or search Wikipedia for proper terminology.
The long and short of it is that woman CAN and DO in fact become monks, regardless of what term is used to represent them. They abide by a set of rules as stipulated by their faith, shave their heads and wear the vestments required by their monastic lifestyle.
I hope this answers the question, and offers information to any who may have been wondering. Obviously, I don’t think I need to remind everyone that women can do anything men can. In terms of Buddhism, there has always been female involvement ever since its creation. ☯