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Women and Higher Education in Iran

In: English and Literature

Submitted By thegiger
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Women and Higher Education in Iran
Iranian women hold a high regard for education and they believe that obtaining a higher education will lead to financial independence and a higher social status. While the pursuit of a degree may appear to be the driving force behind their choice to attend college, there are other contributing factors. College provides an opportunity for young women to experience a limited form of independence and to intermingle with members of the opposite sex.
College is the first public place where women come into contact with members of the opposite sex. “College in one place in Iran’s Islamic society that enables young men and women to interact, albeit surreptitiously.” (Shavarini 341) Relationships between men and women are highly guarded in Iran. Their society is heavily segregated by gender. Men and women who are not related may not have any contact. Young men and women are often stopped in public and asked to show proof that they are related. Those that have broken this rule may be detained, fined, and even punished. Because of this segregation many women feel that it is suffocating them. Girls have few choices after high school they are often forced to marry or go to college. Going to college will delay marriage for young girls by another four years. Attending a college or university allows them to escape their restrictive home environments and gives them a chance to be away from the scrutiny of their family and neighbors. “Young women were flocking to institutions of higher education as a result of the broader society in which they live. That is, young Iranian women do not consider college an avenue through which they can acquire skills and knowledge. For them, college is an experience of intangibles: of feeling uncontrolled; of increasing their ‘worth’ for marriage; of gaining respect; and of acquiring independence – all rarely...

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