Women’s Share in Academia Should Increase

Women make up 46% of all university students while men comprise 54%.Women make up 46% of all university students while men comprise 54%.

The number of girls and boys in the education system is nearing equality and what needs attention now is augmenting the share of women in knowledge management, said Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi.

“As the next step on the agenda to bring about gender equity, we have plans to help increase women’s presence as faculty members in universities and centers of higher education,” she said at a meeting in Tehran of university vice-chancellors on women and family issues, ISNA reported.

Minister of Science and Technology Mohammad Farhadi who opened the session said research concerning women and their pertinent issues must be given impetus, and that scientific studies are necessary to alleviate the status of women and create a level playing field for their academic activity.

“As a scientific authority in executive and planning affairs as well as knowledge-creation, the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology must play a bigger role in promoting the role of women in academia and cultural, social, and economic spheres,” he stressed.

 Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the share of women in academia has increased, Farhadi said. Women make up 46% of all university students while men comprise 54%.

However, he lamented that at best “only 16% of all faculty members are women.”

Advisor to the minister for women and family affairs, Elaheh Hejazi, said the gap is mainly due to a male-dominant structure in faculties of higher education.

“Data analysis highlights the need for gender-sensitive planning, and empowerment projects,” she said.

As of 2015, to help push the number of women as faculty members, “we ordered the Central Committee for Recruitment of Faculty Members to remove gender biases and employ on the basis of merit,” Farhadi said.

As of 2006, women accounted for over half of university students in Iran and 70% of science and engineering students. 

In 2012, according to UNESCO data, over 2 million out of 4 million students in tertiary education in Iran were female, thus marking the fifth largest female enrollment after China, India, the US and Brazil. 

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