There are these fools who doubt
That women too can grasp the truth;
Gotami, show your spiritual power
That they might give up their false views.
—The Buddha’s instructions to Mahapajapati (Gotami Theri Apadana 79) trans. Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni
Firstly, allowing women to become Buddhist nuns was a profound act of women’s liberation at the time. Thanks to Buddha, women could now leave an abusive home. They also could find enlightenment, just like men. By the standards of 2,500 years ago, that was truly radical.
Buddhism offers an equal escape and release for everyone. It does not discriminate against an individual based on their background. It is faith of personal development that centers its attention on the growth of the individual while promoting virtues and ideas about helping others.
The Buddha Dhamma gives equal rights to men and women. In the Parinibbana Sutta, the Buddha preached there had to be four groups in his religious community to ensure effectiveness and continuity.
They are: Bhikkhus (monks), Bhikkhunis (nuns), upasaka (layman/ disciple) and upasika (laywomen/ disciple). Thus, it is essential that higher ordained nuns are within the Sangha.
Buddhism and Women
Buddhist Women at the Time of The Buddha
Gender Equality in Early Buddhism
A Buddhist Perspective on Women's Liberation By Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi