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Iran Universities To Ban Women From 77 Fields of Study 585

New submitter jasper160 writes "An August 20th, 2012 announcement from Iran places restrictions on female university students. Iran will be cutting 77 fields of study from the female curriculum, making them male-only fields. Science and engineering are among those affected by the decree. 'The Oil Industry University, which has several campuses across the country, says it will no longer accept female students at all, citing a lack of employer demand. Isfahan University provided a similar rationale for excluding women from its mining engineering degree, claiming 98% of female graduates ended up jobless.' The announcement came soon after the release of statistics showing that women were graduating in far higher numbers than men from Iranian universities and were scoring overall better than men, especially in the sciences. Senior clerics in Iran's theocratic regime have become concerned about the social side-effects of rising educational standards among women." Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi wrote to the UN that this effort is "part of the recent policy of the Islamic Republic, which tries to return women to the private domain inside the home as it cannot tolerate their passionate presence in the public arena,"
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Iran Universities To Ban Women From 77 Fields of Study

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  • by BMOC ( 2478408 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:10PM (#41113231)

    I'm sure if the world scorns them strongly enough on this they'll come around on human rights issues.

    /is sarcasm dead? ok I'll turn out the lights.

    • by mr1911 ( 1942298 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:23PM (#41113431)
      It is hard enough to believe Iran had made enough forward progress to take such a large step backwards.
      • by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:33PM (#41113549)
        How the conversation went:
        Did you see the latest statistics about how women are better than men?
        Yes, I am concerned, because if they are better they will get the better jobs, have more power, and start making us their bitch
        I agree, I am scared of women too.
        I know, lets make it so they will never succeed!
        • by Genda ( 560240 ) <> on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:58PM (#41113919) Journal

          I find it so fascinating. I've known many Persians. To a man and woman, they were intelligent, passionate, vocal and idealistic. So how did a nation with such cultural depth, such delightful people, so much going for them go so far off the track. Of course, the religious folks in Florida are trying to amend their state constitution to make all abortion illegal. That would include abortion in the cases of rape, incest and where the Mother's life is in imminent danger. The folks lobbying for this law have declared that a complete human being and citizen of the United States exists the instance sperm hits egg. By this definition, when a doctor collects 20 eggs for in vitro fertilization, each and every one of those eggs is now a constitutionally protected human being with inalienable rights. You must now bring every one of those blastocysts to full term or its murder. The ramifications from fertility all the way through medical science are deeply disturbing. When a doctor reverts one of your skin cells back into a pruropotent stem cell, is that a whole person too? It could be used to clone you, why not.

          We need to have a little conversation with the world. Your involvement with the big invisible man in the sky is very special and we don't want to get in the way of your Bromance. HOWEVER, here are 350 scrict global rules you need to follow to ensure we all get along. You know simple things. You don't get to enslave anybody in particular the female half of the human race. You don't get to practice holy war, that's a no no. You don't get a free pass on being ignorant, superstitious, and committedly stupid. You can't simply ignore the real world and engage in dangerous or social destructive practices because your book said it was okay. Most of all, you are not the single purveyors of a one and only true anything. You don't get to shove your beliefs down the throats of other, you don't get to legislate your beliefs down the throats of others and you don't get to use force or duress to make others accept your beliefs. This is neither holy nor moral and when you behave this way god is most unhappy. Haven't you notice the hurricane approaching the Republican National Convention?

          • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @04:30PM (#41114355)

            This. This times a million. To me, there's nothing scarier than the social conservative wing of the Republican party. They demonstrated that science means nothing to them (by spinning Akin's comments as a misunderstood slip of the tongue, rather than just plain wrong), they demonstrated that they're willing to put THEIR interpretation of the bible over anybody else's opinion on how to handle themselves, and they've demonstrated that they're willing to go to great lengths to make sure that their political dogma becomes the law of the land.

            Quite frankly, I'd rather shack up with the Paulites and the actual communists than the social conservatives. I don't actually care about their position, but the amount of work they're putting into shoving their stone-age principles down my throat is far greater than that of any other political group in the US. Not to mention that they're also far more successful.

          • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Friday August 24, 2012 @04:37PM (#41114481)

            I find it so fascinating. I've known many Persians. To a man and woman, they were intelligent, passionate, vocal and idealistic. So how did a nation with such cultural depth,

            How could you have missed that fact?

          • by BMOC ( 2478408 )
            I have also known a lot of Persians living in the States. They're wonderful people by and large. Strangely most of the ones I've known were women, and quite intelligent women at that (one of them was a physics major). The path their country is choosing should serve as a lesson for everyone. Even an educated population can lose control of a government.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            "So how did a nation with such cultural depth, such delightful people, so much going for them go so far off the track."

            They tried to nationalize their oil and the US and UK did this to them in response:

            Compare and contrast to Norway nationalizing their oil and you will see that racism underscores our foreign policy.

          • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @04:44PM (#41114609) Journal

            I find it so fascinating. I've known many Persians. To a man and woman, they were intelligent, passionate, vocal and idealistic. So how did a nation with such cultural depth, such delightful people, so much going for them go so far off the track.

            America happened [].

          • by quenda ( 644621 )

            . By this definition, when a doctor collects 20 eggs for in vitro fertilization, each and every one of those eggs is now a constitutionally protected human being with inalienable rights.

            On the plus side, the child tax credits are awesome!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:11PM (#41113237)
    Apparently lowering women to the level men want them to be is easier than raising men to the level of the women.
  • by FreekyGeek ( 19819 ) <`thinkstoomuch' `at' `'> on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:11PM (#41113241)

    This is what you get when you base your life on what you imagine your invisble friend in the sky wants you to do.

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:31PM (#41113527) Homepage

      This is what you get when you base your life on what you imagine your invisble friend in the sky wants you to do.

      No. This is what you get when you have a religion that hasn't had a reformation, and believe that their religion is "true and untainted" and anyone who changes it should be put to death over it. Remember, Christianity and Judaism have both had such. In turn, after the reformations 400+ years ago, the world became a better place especially after the big push of the enlightenment period.

      No reformation, no enlightenment period. Religion was still an important part of everything in the day-to-day workings of the people in the enlightenment period. Perhaps even more so than it was before. It was the ability to question, argue, dissent that changed everything.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tolkienfan ( 892463 )

        Oh there are plenty of Jews and Christians that want the same thing for the US.

      • Yes, reformed religions are more akin with the rules in modern societies, and less bad than traditional ones. That is still a low bar to use, though.
      • by Genda ( 560240 )

        Here's the problem. The people in Iran, they hate their government, they hate the religious leaders and the folks in charge are a small, dangerous and threatening bunch of zealots. Most folks get satellite TV pumped in by an Iranian provider who produces Free Iranian TV from Los Angeles and he is possibly the most subversive SOB alive on the planet. He has literally won the hearts and minds of at least two generations of Iranians. They want Satellite TV, they want video games, they want popular music and ni

    • Sounds like something a bunch of stoners might say... oh wait, what?

    • This is what you get when you base your life on what you imagine your invisble friend in the sky wants you to do.

      It is mind-blowing to blame Christians for what Muslims do.

      With a brush of the same breadth, I can point to the 100,000,000 deaths caused by Marxism and say "this is what you get when you don't believe in God"

      If you want to know what Christians actually believe, you should hear them. []

      The link above does not deal with female education, but it deals with tota

      • It's interesting that the text was written by a person who is now the ruler of a totalitarian theocracy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      This is what you get when you base your life on what you imagine your invisble friend in the sky wants you to do.

      Not always bad: My personal deity told me to drink, bang hookers, hack in Lisp, and troll on slashdot.

    • by na1led ( 1030470 )
      Religion has always been a tool to control people. If you can get people to believe in ridiculous things, you can make them do just about anything.
  • by DontLickJesus ( 1141027 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:12PM (#41113251) Homepage Journal
    The Iranian people are historically a fairly progressive bunch. Cutting off women who have become wage earners, those on their way, and the modernization of that country is going to seriously piss of the population. I see another revolution in their very near future.
    • war (Score:5, Interesting)

      by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:22PM (#41113401) Homepage Journal

      Well then, the US government better hurry up then with its plans to invade Iran, because, god forbid, it may become a democracy. Again. The US and UK can't stand that. []

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I see another revolution in their very near future.

      Yes, most likely paid with US tax dollars.

    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      This looks like another example of what happens when the general populace is considerably more progressive than the ruling elite. If I had "grand" in my title in Iran, I would be scared shitless about the populace getting fed up with your bullshit and overthrowing you and your friends.
    • The Iranian people are historically a fairly progressive bunch.

      The German people are historically a fairly productive bunch, but the former communist East Germany economy was a total road-wreck. That's how bad communism was, if you take a nation full of Germans, and make a poor country out of it.

      I'm equally confident in Iran's theocracy of doing the same to the Iranians.

  • Dark ages (Score:5, Insightful)

    by codepigeon ( 1202896 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:13PM (#41113271)
    My opinion might come from living in a "western" country, but I just don't get why some countries seem to want to stay in the dark ages.

    Are they oblivious to the fact that their region as once the "mecca" of science and math?...and maybe could be again if they tried?
    • Re:Dark ages (Score:5, Insightful)

      by negativeduck ( 2510256 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:15PM (#41113301)

      Because stupid people historically have been easier to control. It helps you to maintain your power.

      • Re:Dark ages (Score:4, Interesting)

        by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:46PM (#41113755)

        Because stupid people historically have been easier to control. It helps you to maintain your power.

        Exactly. That's why there's an ongoing war with education in (predominantly though not exclusively) the US. Evolution vs creationism, as a prime example. The rising costs of education is another example.

        As you say, intentionally and knowingly wanting to dumb-down your society is done for only one reason - to make them easier to control.

        People need to remember this war on intelligence isn't only being fought in Iran - it's being fought in western society as well, including (and sometimes specifically) the US.

    • Re:Dark ages (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Burning1 ( 204959 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:20PM (#41113371) Homepage

      Not sure which western country you're coming from, but we see a lot of that here in the US as well. There is a strong call to turn back 300 years of progress and make religion a guiding force in our government and educational systems.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:47PM (#41113757)

        See, this would never happen in the US. Women's bodies have mechanisms to shut down legitimate denials of educational opportunities.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      I just don't get why some countries seem to want to stay in the dark ages.

      Darwin, my friend:

      Because when the next Big Meteor hits and puts the entire planet into a dark-age, they'll be better prepared due to experience already being there, and survive to pass on the "Dark Age Liker" gene to future generations.

  • 98% of them might be jobless in Iran, but elsewhere in the world, an education is worth something, regardless of whether you dangle or not. Perhaps what Iran is really saying is "We have too many women in our country, and because we do not wish to reproduce, we would like to offer them to your country."

    So, what's your country doing to get these women out of Iran and into a productive job near you?

  • by adlib24 ( 739952 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:14PM (#41113295)
    I have worked in both a female dominated field (child psychology) and a male dominated field (software engineering). Teams are always better with a touch of gender balance. Every single time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Teams are always better with a touch of gender balance.

      Perhaps you'd like to rephrase that a bit, HR might be reading.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I find it interesting that the primary reason cited is that women can't jet jobs in the industry, so there is no point sending them through school.

    Contrast this to India, where many/most women have been going to school for years, but for traditional/cultural reasons, end up as home makers, and very seldom take long-term careers.

    I'm not defending either culture, but at least Iran is being honest about it's sexist traditions. India - not so much.

  • by cryfreedomlove ( 929828 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:17PM (#41113333)
    I have 2 daughters. While the USA still has a long way to go towards full gender equality, I'm grateful that fate has me raising them here in the USA rather than in Iran.

    Ultimately this will backfire on the insecure men who rule Iran. They are afraid of empowering women but countries that do will run circles around them.
    • 1) Just about anywhere is better than Iran for women I would guess. The list is long there, the USA is hardly failing in that regard.

      2) Cause VS Cauality: Not to rain on your gender parade, but I doubt women being empowered has all that much to do with runing circles around other countries. If you like you could look at various variables, like the when the women got to vote VS relitive economic prowess for various couuntries, etc... but I am not sure the outcome would even tell you all that much. Sounds lik

  • by byteherder ( 722785 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:17PM (#41113341)
    When I went to university we didn't even have 77 fields of study.

    Now, you kids get off my lawn.
  • Turn Tables (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lymond01 ( 314120 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:20PM (#41113377)

    I say that for one decade, you place the same restrictions on men that you have on women, and allow women to have the rights of men.

    That'll learn 'em.

  • Hard to fault a system that runs on "majority rule". If that's what the People want then that's what they get. Maybe the Iranian women should do like the U.S. women and protest for the right to vote. (Of course Democrat President Wilson responded by throwing them in prison. So much for free speech.)

    I often hear "If you don't like the U.S. then leave" spatted at me. How difficult would it be for Iranian women to leave? Of course nobody really wants to leave their home, so the solution is pretty mu

  • In Other News... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 )
    Cultures that are more passive-aggressive about their misogyny totally get away with it.

    Exempli gratia, the gender pay gap [] that we see in "civilized," western societies.
    • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris@beau . o rg> on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:49PM (#41113783)

      What of course is lying through statistics.

      Women who exhibit the same patterns as men tend to earn as much as and often more than men. The trick is finding female oranges to compare to male oranges and not female apples to male oranges.

      If a woman has the same educational attainment, works the same job for the same number of hours and years in position their pay is typically the same or better. But that almost never happens.

      Women have babies, men don't. All of the differences trace back to that inescapable fact of biology and everything else flows from that. If you don't make it clear you aren't planning on having a baby you won't get picked for any position that can't easily cope with a sudden unplanned absence of up to a year. That right there will explain a fair amount of any measured difference. And of course many women DO actually have babies, which interrupts their career track, especially since many choose to take more time away than the purely medically required absence. Women tend to select careers which provide the work flexibility to permit their family obligations, another significant contributer to measured differences. And while we might argue endlessly whether it is good, correct, etc. there are still more cases of the male partner in a marriage getting a job offer that requires relocation disrupting the female's career track. Add all that up and you have most of the difference.

      Now add in the fact, again we can argue endlessly about the rightness of it, whether it can or should be changed by social policy, etc., that men and women have different ideas of what a 'good job' is. Whether they can do it or not, women don't tend to seek jobs in a lot of industries that pay rather well but have difficult working conditions, require erratic schedules with a lot of overtime, etc. This preference is fairly uniform whether the female has children or not, plan on having children, is or is not married, etc. There is also a fairly pronounced difference in the selection of majors and all majors do not pay equally.

    • I often see this statistic thrown around, but I rarely see anything more than the percentage. As an engineer, I have found that women earn the same amount that I do, if not more when they get to the same level of experience.

      But then I wonder: are they comparing every job equally, and the averaging the pay? Clearly, there are more men in engineering, so I wonder how this is balanced in these averages, if it is at all? And then, do they equally not balance based on other female-dominated fields such as educat

  • by grandpa-geek ( 981017 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:33PM (#41113555)

    I didn't recognize Todd Akin as being an Iranian name, but the nature of the thinking seems about the same.

  • by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:38PM (#41113621)

    Iran had a secular democracy back in 1953. The west, especially England and the US, and overthrew it with a dictatorship, much more ruthless than the present government.

    As the left was the great fear, the dictatorship jailed, (effectively) exiled and killed the left. When the people overthrew the foreign-backed government, the only power left in the country were the mullahs, and bazaar shop keepers, and that is who is in control now.

    Harvard only began admitting women in 1999, although the first openings of that were in the 1960s. It's amusing to see westerners, who were just invading Iraq and torturing and forcing Abu Ghraib detainees to masturbate on camera, are now all sanctimonious about how Iranian universities are preparing classes. Iran is a paradise of academic freedom for women compared to US ally Saudi Arabia, why don't we hear about that? And why all the concern about women's studies in Iran, something Americans can do nothing about because the US doesn't even have diplomatic relations with Iran, at the same time the US is stepping up pressure on Iran on other fronts? The US is who overthrew Iran's secular democracy in 1953, then the CIA worked with the Savak to wipe out the left. Now they complain the mullahs have too much control over the universities. No Slashdot headlines about women's education in Saudi Arabia. Women can't even drive in Saudi Arabia, where's the noise about that? As there is none, it's clear this is just more propaganda as the war drums are being beaten. As smug, hypocritical, imperialist westerners stick their fingers into the Middle East, torture their people in prisons like Abu Ghraib, kill off and take over new land in the West Bank with US funds - you can be sure the inevitable 9/11s will come in response, as some people will always resist imperialism and foreign tyranny.

    • Harvard only began admitting women in 1999

      [Citation needed]

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:57PM (#41113907)

        tl;dr: Women technically went to "Radcliffe", although starting in the sixties and seventies the courses were the same and the diplomas all said "Harvard" on them, by 1977 the distinction was entirely nominal.

    • by Un pobre guey ( 593801 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:59PM (#41113929) Homepage

      I applaud your post. If I had mod points, they'd be yours. Iranian nukes? Only an idiot can believe that they would attack Israel with a nuke, directly or by proxy. It would clearly and categorically mean a clean and robust regime-extinction event for them. It is the War-For-Profit machine in its myriad guises trying to get traction, nothing more.

      Iran is a minor supporter of terrorism compared to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates, who have been supporting American-killing terrorists for decades. Why so little public discussion about it? Because they are business partners with the American 1%. There is no better way to cover your ass, and practically no crime that can't be swept under the rug.

  • We could use them. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:42PM (#41113701)

    I hear there's a shortage of engineers in the US. Maybe we should grant asylum to women seeking engineering degrees over here and kill two birds with one stone.

  • by Known Nutter ( 988758 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @03:43PM (#41113717)

    As long as it is legitimate oppression. Because the woman's body has a way to just shut the whole thing down and deal with the oppression.

    So they'll be fine. Everything will work out fine.

  • Correlation is not causation and all, but its basically been shown that societies which discriminate based on things like race, gender, and religion, enjoy less economic success than those which don't.

    I would speculate this is because it create a barrier that results in something other than the allocation of the people with the most talent and or desire to do $job to that particular job.

    The Islamic world wonders why it does not have the influence and power on the world stage the West does and idiocy like this is a big reason why.

  • An Instructive Read (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday August 24, 2012 @04:10PM (#41114109) Homepage Journal

    Willow Wilson is an American writer who converted to Islam, married an Egyptian and now lives partly in her husband's country. I'm not a big fan (I have issues with her understanding of events and her selective condemnation of bigotry) but her memoir Butterfly Mosque is must reading if you pretend to have any understanding of the way people live and think in Islamic countries.

    Her account of her trip to Iran is illuminating. She had assumed that Iranian, living as they do in a theocracy, would be even more conservative in lifestyle and dress than the old-fashioned Egyptian Muslims she lives among, and had dressed for the trip accordingly. She was surprised to find that Iranian women actually dress less conservatively than Egyptian women. Iranians, according to her, are not so much cowed by the Islamist rulers as unwilling to take violent action to overthrow them. This she blames on many years of revolution and war.

    If her picture is right, neither the Islamists or the more liberal Iranians are in a position to really force their views on the other. People go through the motions of obeying all the religious restrictions on their lives, but push back — hard — when the mullahs go too far. I think this is going to be a moderately unstable situation with no real resolution for a long time

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus