Monday, September 24, 2012

Iranian Women Banned From 80 University Courses

The Iranian government is further marginalizing women by not allowing them to study almost 80 different course subjects including computer science, nuclear physics, engineering, business, and of all things English Lit. Over 30 universities have implemented the ban just as the new academic year commenced.

No-one is saying why, but people have their ideas. Human Rights Lawyer Shirin Ebadi, who won a Nobel Prize, believes that

"The Iranian government is using various initiatives… to restrict women's access to education, to stop them being active in society, and to return them to the home to weaken the feminist movement in the country"

After the Islamic Revolution women were encouraged to educate themselves, and in fact female university students currently outnumber male 60 to 40, but that is starting to change. According to Human Rights Watch Liesl Gernholtz,

"As university students across Iran prepare to start the new academic year, they face serious setbacks, and women students in particular will no longer be able to pursue the education and careers of their choice."

Of course, others blame it on the economy bolstered by Western sanctions.

"..the dean of Iran's Petroleum University of Technology, Gholamreza Rashed, was quoted by the IRAN newspaper last week as blaming market forces - implying job prospects were shrinking because of Western sanctions.

He said his school was no longer accepting female students due to "the hardship of the work situation, and because the oil industry does not need female students right now."

Still others believe the power and strength of the women in the 2009 revolution has the leaders running scared.

"The women's movement has been challenging Iran's male-dominated establishment for several years," says Saeed Moidfar, a retired sociology professor from Tehran.

"Traditional politicians now see educated and powerful women as a threat."

But it definitely has to do with the continued Islamisation of Iran, and the universities are suffering the fall out. Iran has apparently been pushing for gender segregation in colleges for a while now, and Kamran Daneshjou, minister of science, research and technology says they

"welcome the establishment of one-gender universities, schools for only men or women." He said that was the direction "our religion envisions for us."

Mr Daneshjou dismissed Western criticism of Iran's steps, saying: "The angrier Western media gets, the more we realise we are moving in the right direction."

Unless the Iranians take back their country, women will wind up like Afghan women covered in burqas and banned from education.

Sources: ABC Australia, BBC

No comments: