Muslim Women at forefront of Science: 70% of Iranian Women Graduates come out with Science Degrees

Middle Eastern Women Leading World’s Science, Tech Fields

| TeleSur | – –

  • Over half of STEM jobs in several middle eastern countries are held by female professionals.

  • “In wealthy nations, they believe that they have the freedom to pursue those alternatives and not worry so much that they pay less,” said one professional.

    Iranian women are topping the charts with the highest number of female scientists in the world, far surpassing their western counterparts with over half of students leaving with science diploma.

    Approximately 70 percent of Iranian university graduates in the concentrations of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are women, the author Saadia Zahidi writes in her new book, ‘Fifty Million Rising,’ an analysis on accomplishments made by Muslim women in the workplace. While in the middle eastern countries of Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) women represent 60 percent of the graduates in science.

    “The Muslim world has put high investment in education, and the payoff is coming now,” said Zahidi, explaining that young girls in Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have shown a natural strength and confidence in mathematics that far exceeds their male classmates.

    Despite the stereotypes, in the workplace, the stricter social expectations attributed to Arabic women do not come into play. Over half of STEM jobs in several middle eastern countries are held by female professionals. Zahidi says women are continuously combating their way from one level to the next in order to avoid the gender-related stereotypes in relation to careers which handicap western societies.

    The wealth of a country may have a lot to do with it, a study published by the Atlantic said. According to author Olga Khazan, a stable government with strong social support programs provides a cushion which allows women to pursue less secure jobs.

    A Gender-Studies professor, Janet Shibley Hyde, from the University of Wisconsin said, “Some would say that the gender stem gap occurs not because girls can’t do science, but because they have other alternatives, based on their strengths in verbal skills.”

    “In wealthy nations, they believe that they have the freedom to pursue those alternatives and not worry so much that they pay less,” she said.

    Also, unlike western societies, the strong family units enjoyed by middle eastern cultures provides additional support to female professionals with childcare and affordable domestic labor.

    Syndicated with permission from TeleSur


    Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

    CERN: “Women in Science: CERN computer science engineer, Sima Baymani”

    Posted in Iran,science,women | 3 Responses | Print |

    3 Responses

    1. Iranian men and women are impressive in science. Consider: “Which country’s scientific output rose 18-fold between 1996 and 2008, from 736 published papers to 13,238? The answer – Iran – might surprise many people, especially in the western nations used to leading science. Iran [over those years had] the fastest rate of increase in scientific publication in the world. And if political relations between Iran and the US [have been] strained, it seems that the two countries’ scientists [were] getting on fine: the number of collaborative papers between them rose almost fivefold from 388 to 1831 over the same period.” Juan, What explains Iran’s record in science? Culture? Rational leadership? Long history of respect for learning in general? h/t link to

    2. It has long been widely known that Asian woman are significantly over represented in global STEM. Asian females are also significantly over represented in elite European, North American, Latin American, Australasian and African universities.

      In the near future a majority of global wealth, global income, global billionaires will be Asians from Asia and expats of Asian ancestry. How will the world deal with this? How to stop a global jealous xenophobic bigoted outburst against Asians?

      I don’t know how to stop this. But many Asians are worried about this.

      Is there a solution? Is there any way to prevent the phrases “Asian privilege” and “Asian supremacy” joining the global lexicon over the long run?

    3. Ryan, no one with the least knowledge of Iranian culture and civilization is surprised by the success of Iranian scientists, engineers and business people. If not for Khomeini and Khamenei can we even imagine what Iran would be today?

    Comments are closed.