Gender Inequality In Higher Education

There is no single solution to a complex problem like gender inequality in higher education; the trend of more women choosing higher education is here to stay

Given that more women are pursuing higher education and even studying abroad in countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and USA today, it seems appropriate to share my thoughts on female participation and leadership in higher education on International Women's Day.  

Despite progress, gender inequalities in higher education persist globally and in our country it is primarily due to socioeconomic and sociocultural factors.Gender inequality continues to be a source of concern for universities and colleges around the world, as there is a gender disparity, in access to educational and professional opportunities.

Despite the various changes, women still make up for a tiny fraction of leadership roles in higher education. This may be because they are less likely to follow their academic and professional goals due to various cultural and economic reasons. This is true in practically every field, especially in STEM.  

In comparison to men, women are still more likely to hold part-time or low-paying jobs. Women outnumber men in teaching positions at lower educational levels, but their numbers fall significantly in higher education. Gender differences are more pronounced in higher education because young males enroll in colleges in higher numbers than young females do. Such gender disparities arise as a result of traditional role expectations in our society.

Surprisingly even in educated homes, women are expected to conform to societal gender norms. Even today, a woman's marriage is considered to be the most significant event in her life, and everything else — including education, job or professional development — is often seen as insignificant. If financial constraints make it difficult to provide education for all children in a family, a female child is expected to opt out because first preference will always be given to the male child, regardless of one’s ability and capabilities.

Lower enrollment of women in higher education is generally influenced by family, social, and other factors, especially when it relates to traditionally male-dominated fields like engineering and technology.  

It is simple to conclude from these patterns that gender equality in higher education is a socio-cultural and socio-economic issue. Unfortunately, this matter is frequently treated as solely an economic issue, with suggestions often involving higher spending by the government or establishment of new educational institutions.The government on the other hand will also be concerned on rising spends due to growing fiscal deficits and inflation rate.  

However, the main concern here is to concentrate efforts on raising women enrollment ratio in higher education and attempting to lower the drop-out rate, both of which are tied not just to the economic factors but are largely related to the socio-cultural aspects, especially in a country like ours.Therefore, the emphasis should be on improving education quality and changing the socio-cultural paradigm rather than just concentrating on increasing government spending and the number of universities.  

Scholarships and other types of financial help for women should be provided in order to promote equality of opportunity and broaden women's access to higher education. Women who wish to continue higher education must have this kind of support.

Also, we as a society need to rethink how we feel and view women who aspire to assume leadership positions in their chosen fields. Women have traditionally been discouraged from pursuing leadership positions for fear of being perceived as overly ambitious.

As more women advance in their careers and take on leadership roles, their participation in higher education will increase as well. The reason for this is that higher education is now regarded as a means of gaining a competitive edge at work.

There is no single solution to a complex problem like gender inequality in higher education. The trend of more women choosing higher education is here to stay. This is encouraging for women and society as a whole since it implies that more women will be able to acquire the knowledge and skills required to prosper in today's society.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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