Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rise in number of women attending university deemed ‘alarming’ by Iran

Iran’s Research Center of the Majlis (parliament) has produced a report describing the recent rise in the number of women attending university “alarming”, warning that it could lead to “social disparity and economic and cultural imbalances between men and women,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on Sunday. The report urges the government to stop this “worrisome” trend.

According to Elahe Hejazi, a university professor in Tehran, the report reflects both traditional gender discrimination and despair among young males about their prospects in life. “If such concern is being expressed, then it's because our society is not ready to accept than a woman could be more educated than a man,” she said.

The problem is one of ideology, says Shahl Shafigh, an Iranian-born women's rights activist in Paris. “With the door of opportunity closed to most young girls, and with all the control their families and others exert over them, young women are mostly going after knowledge and science to gain freedom and human dignity,” Shafigh says. “And this is a good thing to happen in a country.”

The last two decades have seen a 23 percent increase in the number of girls taking university entrance exams, and the amount og girls passing the tests nearly doubling to 65 percent.

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