Roy Sneddon

Roy Sneddon

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

School of Social Sciences

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

"Exploring gender equity issues facing Theravada Buddhist Nuns in Australia"

This PhD project involves semi-structured interviews with Australian Buddhist nuns, monks and lay people in the Theravada tradition, to examine what gender/political issues bhikkhunis may face in the Australian context. There is considerable international discussion on the ongoing discrimination facing Buddhist nuns including (but not limited to):

* The full ordination of Bhikkhuni nuns
* The eight Garudhamma rules that subordinate nuns to monks
* Restriction of access to resources and education
* Suppression of the voices of Buddhist women in debate, policy and literature
* Acceptance by the sangha, laity and governments

The questions in our study have been drawn from the international literature, and we are hoping to ask bhikkhunis, bhikkhus, and lay devotees here in Australia about their perspectives on these issues. In the interviews we are hoping to cover the following themes:

* The status and recognition of bhikkhunis in Australia
* Barriers bhikkhunis face to equality
* The agency and empowerment of bhikkhunis
* Participants' perceptions of gender equality

This study represents a culturally significant group in 21st Century Australia.

Supervisor: Dr Tiziana Torresi (University of Adelaide)
Co-Supervisor: Dr Nadine Levy (Nan Tien Institute)

This project is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program scholarship
University of Adelaide Human Research Ethics approval H-2021-199

"Exploring gender equity issues facing Theravada Buddhist Nuns in Australia"

There is extensive scholarly work examining the global Bhikkhuni revival. From fieldwork involving the Theravada nuns in Sri Lanka and Thailand, to the Mahayana nuns in the Tibetan tradition, the temple wives of Japan and the ongoing activism of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women, there is no shortage of literature on the gender issues facing Buddhist nuns.... except in Australia.

This study involves meeting with nuns, monks and lay people in Australia, examining their stories to critique the international literature from the Australian perspective, filling an important void in the academic record.


Ven Ayya Santacari Bhikkhuni (Photo credit Tokuyo Sneddon)
Ven Ayya Santacari Bhikkhuni (Photo credit Tokuyo Sneddon)


  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2021 - ongoing PhD Candidate University of Adelaide
    2020 - 2022 Senior Research Development Officer University of Adelaide
    2018 - 2020 Manager Northern Adelaide Local Health Network
    2018 - 2020 Training Fellow (Legislation Module) Australasian Research Management Society
    2016 - 2018 Senior Research Education Support Officer University of Adelaide
    2014 - 2016 Senior Research Grants Officer University of Adelaide
    2014 - 2014 Grants & Funding Coordinator University of South Australia
    2014 - 2014 Research Administration Officer Flinders University
    2010 - 2013 Manager Research Secretariat Hanson Institute
    1997 - 2010 Manager Corporate Services Joanna Briggs Institute
    1990 - 1996 Manager, Accommodation and Travel Services Australian Formula One Grand Prix
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    Flinders Australia Master of Health Administration
    Griffith Australia Bachelor of General Studies
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    2018 Accredited Research Manager (Foundation) Australasian Research Management Society -
  • Research Interests

  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2019 - 2020 Member Buddhist Society of South Australia Buddhist Society of South Australia Australia
    2014 - 2019 Member Australasian Research Management Society (SA Chapter) Australasian Research Management Society Australia

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