Why are there so few women in Buddhist institutions?

Lama Ole’s answer:

The women just don’t want it so much. They don’t care as much about high positions in a hierarchical system. Women would rather work in circles than in pyramids, and they don’t enjoy power struggles as much as men do. As long as you don’t disturb a woman and her family, she is peaceful. But when a man hears about someone in the next valley who says he’s the strongest, he will cross a high mountain to check him out.

Then, when a family is started, the women usually spend more time with the children because this is more important to them than advancing in any institution. But as soon as they have more time, they start to open up to the outside again. Then they have unbeatable new experience and tremendous maturity, and they become very good teachers.

In our lineage, women have as much say as men do. We work on the level of fun and friendship. Among my own students—also among those I send out to teach and lead the centers—there are just as many women as men. But it seems that fewer women than men want to drop out of their personal life completely and devote themselves one hundred percent to something beyond personal. Most of them want something for themselves: a family or a man. But we have smart and able women who are quite good at combining the dharma on the one hand with some private life and family on the other.