Dharma Data: Nuns

Several years after the founding of the Sangha of monks (bhikkhu) the Buddha also established the Sangha of nuns (bhikkhuni). His aunt Maha Pajapati Gotami came to him requesting to be ordained, a request that he initially turned down. However, on being reminded by Ananda that women as well as men can attain Nirvana he finally relented, but with several provisions:

These were (1) in matters of deference and respect monks would always have precedence over nuns; (2) nuns must spend the yearly retreat in a place separate from monks; (3) nuns must consult monks about certain monastic procedures and about teaching the Dhamma; (4) when a nun does wrong she must confess it before the community of both monks and nuns; (5) a nun who breaks an important Vinaya rule must undergo punishment before both monks and nuns; (6) a nun must be ordained before an assembly of both monks and nuns; (7) a nun must not revile or abuse a monk and (8) a nun must not teach a monk. Gotami accepted these extra rules and nuns became an integral part of the Buddhist movement.