In the western world, men outnumber women in academia. But in some countries, it’s the other way around. That sounds remarkable, but what does it actually say about gender equality?
It’s a familiar cry from educational institutions and governments across the globe: we need more women in science. Despite efforts to close the gender gap, science remains dominated by men. But that isn’t true for all countries. In Myanmar, for example, science is a woman’s world.
BBC News reports that Myanmar seems to be “a paragon of scientific gender equality”, with women outnumbering men in research jobs and professorships. Does that mean that there’s no gender bias in Myanmar? Not exactly.
A possible explanation for the high number of women in science is the fact that academic jobs don’t pay well in Myanmar. Because wages in academia are too low to be able to support a family, female researcher dr. Thazin Han told BBC, men choose other professions. Han works as head of food research at the Myanmar government’s Department of Research and Innovation, and she’s paid 300 dollars a month. In Myanmar, that’s not enough to provide for a household.
In Tunisia, women make up more than half of all scientists in Tunisia. But top-level academic positions are still male-dominated. In addition, unemployment is substantially higher among highly educated women. While 19% of young men with a higher education diploma are without a job, 41% of female graduates are unemployed.
Even though the numbers paint a rosy picture, there’s still a lot to be done for women in science across the world. As it turns out, countries that have seemingly overcome the scientific gender gap are no exception.
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