Status of Women

167.  As regards the status of women in the Jain community, we will have to go back to the period of Mahavira who made then a crucial revolt against the existing tradition and extended his solid support to uplift this very important but most neglected organ of the family where they became least powerful and most disregarded and controlled bitterly by men in each and every sphere. Considering all these nefarious practices and alimentative attitude of men towards women, Mahavira stood against these pernicious social elements and freed them from indignation for their own progress in all walks of life. Some reservations had, of course to be observed due to the slight physical incapability of women. Hence, some special rules were prescribed for nuns. Though they used to be heads of their units as Pravartini and Ganavacchedini, similar to Acarya and Upadhyaya, they were entirely responsible to the Acaryas. Candana, Puspacula, Subrata, and other well-known nuns of long ago, are referred to in this context. Even the, the patriarchal form of the society was developed and nuns were treated as slightly inferior to monks in certain respects. This however, does not hold women as anything less than human beings who, like all souls, have the right and capability to attain salvation.