While women make up the majority of teaching, nursing, and non-profit jobs in the world, they are often not represented at the highest levels even in these professions. This is particularly true in the academic industry, where the majority of primary and secondary school teachers are women. However, once education reaches university and college levels, men are seen increasingly dominating the positions. This occurrence perpetuates the gender gaps found in employment, pay, and education throughout the world. Below is a list of the countries where women make up the lowest percentage of professors at the university and college levels.
Countries with Lowest Percentages of Female Professors
The first 5 countries on the list are located in Africa, although the list has 7 African nations in total. Five out of 15 of these countries are in the Middle East. The percentage of women in university faculty positions is a reflection of their place in society. In order to reach the top levels of academia, one must achieve high levels of education. For many women in these countries, education is unattainable. This inequality has its roots in cultural beliefs.
Female Professors in Africa
Guinea tops the list with only 3% of the college professors here being women. In a country where only half of the girls enroll and school and only 65% of those actually finish primary school, this number is not so surprising. Of all the college professors in Togo, only 6% are women. This nation is similar to Guinea in that the majority of its girls do not even finish primary school. Ethiopia, the Ivory Coast, and Ghana are also within the lowest 5 positions for gender equality in academia. Ethiopia only employs a 12% female professor workforce. The Ivory Coast has a 15% representation of women and Ghana has a 19% rate of women as professors. In these African countries, marriage is arranged for girls at a very young age, particularly in rural areas. Preference is given to boys to attend school because the cultural belief is that women should stay home and care for domestic responsibilities. This gender gap is seen throughout employment in these places. When young girls cannot achieve basic education, they will not move on to higher levels of academia.
Palestine and Haiti
Only 20% of college professors in Haiti are women and in Palestine that number is 23%. Although women in Palestine have achieved impressive academic achievements, particularly for Middle Eastern countries, their accomplishments go unrewarded in employment. Since women are not viewed as equals in this society, the benefits of attaining higher education do not apply to them. This is true in university level employment as well.
Other countries with low percentages of women professors are Mozambique (26%), Sao Tome and Principe (28%), Iran (30%), United Arab Emirates (32%), Malta (34%), South Korea (35%), Tajikistan (35%), and Oman (35%).
Improving Female Participation in Higher Level Academic Staff
Policies and initiatives to encourage girls’ participation in school are without merit if as women, they are not encouraged to continue their participation and recognized for their accomplishments by being hired in higher levels of academia. Without women in these higher academic roles, young girls are left without role models to look up to and motivate their own educational endeavors. Commitment to women’s inclusion must come from government, universities, and society in order to overcome the cultural obstacles that have been holding them back over generations.