No other historical event impacted on the status of Lankan women as the establishment of the Bhikkuni Order by Sanghamitta Theri. Her arrival in Sri Lanka on a Unduwap full moon Poya day 2245 years ago gave new directions to Lankan women taking them out from cultural wilderness and bringing them into the socio-cultural mainstream as literate persons. This led them to play a role in matters of historical significance.
The Kuveni episode in early history reveals the acceptance of a woman as a political leader by the indigenous Lankan society. But there are no clues that shed light on the kind of position occupied by women in general at that time.
Religionwise, there may have been varied faiths of Indian origin floating around as well as indigenous beliefs practiced by an agricultural community, a scenario which Mahinda Thero may have studied prior to his mission to Sri Lanka. In India, although the Bhikkuni Order had been established, by and large, women’s role was insignificant under a rigid Brahminic society which Buddhism was attempting to break through. Mahinda Thero perhaps expected a similar situation in Sri Lanka.