From The Dhamma Encyclopedia
Mae chee sometimes spelled Mae ji (Thai: แม่ชี) are Buddhist laywomen in Thailand occupying a position somewhere between that of an ordinary lay follower and an ordained nun. It is frowned upon for women to take full ordination in Thailand. Mae chee have traditionally been and still are marginalized figures in Thai society. They occupy a status lower than that of full bhikkhuni and are considered by some to be 'not eligible' for full ordination since the nuns' Order died out in the year 1017. The Bhikkhuni lineage is being introduced by Venerable Dhammananda, but oppositions from the high-ranking Thai monks have discouraged mae chee from joining her. However, full ordinations do occur, primarily in other countries (not Thailand), including Australia, the U.S., and Sri Lanka.
See also: Bhikkhuni ordination