The Chaing Mei Declaration

Linked with Sr. Bhikkhuni Dhammananda – Thailand, and with Sakyadhita, The International Association of Buddhist Women.

PREAMBLE: We, the participants in this conference on women and religion, recognize that contemporary realities have tragic consequences for women’s lives. Without a commitment to women’s human rights and to the resolution of these tragedies, religions are failing the world. Their own relevance is at stake as they become more and more isolated from the values and needs of their members.

It is urgent that religions address these realities. Religions must be consonant with the cultural evolution in which we are all immersed. Religions must no longer tolerate violence against women. Women are alienated from religions that do. We are committed to working towards change, and we call on others, women and men, to join in this task.

I. WOMEN AND GLOBALIZATION: PROBLEM AND PROMISE … (full text)

II. WOMEN AND RELIGIONS: PROBLEM AND PROMISE … (full text)

CONCLUSION: Our experience of coming together as women leaders and religious leaders has convinced us that the religious traditions and the aspirations of women are not in opposition. We are not enemies. On the contrary, we share the same commitment to human dignity, social justice, and human rights for all.

We therefore commit ourselves and call on other women and other religious leaders to reach out to each other to enhance mutual understanding, support, and cooperation. This can be done on the regional level to expand the consensus achieved here and at the national level to define concrete, joint activities toward advancing women’s human rights and well-being.

We came together as women and men to explore how the positive powers of religion could be engaged to advance the well-being of women. Indeed, we believe that when women and religious traditions collaborate, a powerful force for advancing women’s human rights and leadership will be created. (full text).

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