Buddhist teachings recommend appreciating obstacles because they are helpful to our practice. Without obstacles we would never develop profound understanding or compassion. Buddhists have also frequently claimed that female rebirth is an obstacle. If obstacles are of great benefit, shouldn’t women, who encounter more obstacles than men, rise to the top of the hierarchy of revered Buddhist teachers? But that has not happened. Is this obstacle actually of benefit to women, as teachings on the helpfulness of obstacles would suggest? After practicing Buddhism for almost forty years, I have come to appreciate how much the many obstacles I faced over the years have taught me. For a woman of my generation (born 1943), none has been greater than the limitations placed on me as a woman, both by Western culture and by Buddhism.
-- Rita Gross on Sakyadhita: Awakening Buddhist Women