Anger as Iran bans women from universities
Several Iranian universities banning women from graduating or enrolling in coursework.
Having worked in Afghanistan I noticed a familiar trend within our HR department. We were reluctant to hire women. In fact women were regulated to the roles of cooking and cleaning and the one female Afghan we had in a leadership position was an Afghan raised in the US and placed in that role by the home office in Washington DC.
Often times I heard the rallying cry that Afghanistan is the graveyard of nations. They have fought the Mongols, the British (The First Anglo–Afghan War fought between British India and Afghanistan from 1839 to 1842 and the Second Anglo–Afghan War fought between the United Kingdom and Afghanistan from 1878 to 1880) and of course the current conflict. Seems that the war on women is unlimited in central asia to be sure.
All too frequently we hear that culture is the sacrosanct third-rail that cannot be touched when dealing with moral taboos in other countries. But is it really culture or is it something else? What would happen to these cultures if women held greater roles in the manifestation not only of their destinies but their national outcomes? Would these cultures collapse, be re-shaped and re-defined or these societies disintegrate to the folly of liberal democratic reform?
Pernicious and reactionary to be sure it is clear that of all the enemies many of these cultures face is themselves. Before taking on further great foreign powers it would not be a waste of time reflecting on how the other 50% of ones own population could bring to the table if they were unleashed.
Very nice. I must ask what would have happened if HR had encouraged the hiring of women in more advanced office roles? What kind of reaction would have ensued? Would the women who were working for you be punished or possibly killed?
That happened in some cases if we didn’t have a dedicated vehicle that would act as a taxi/bus for pick-up and drop-off. Those who left on their own or didn’t conceal themselves in burquas were seen as collaborators and were threatened on their little Nokia’s late at night or were shot in the cab. If they left with our vehicle they made it home.
I noticed that several of the women who appeared for the job were nervous during our recruitment panel, didn’t speak english or had some other restriction. Higher profile positions for the women who DID apply weren’t selected at times but other members of the committee and sometimes they weren’t even Afghans but an American colleague.
The women who did work in the office would of course collect or congregate together and would work in open office spaces with their male colleagues but there was a natural separation overall. The men and the women do speak to each other of course but not in any way that is similar to western office spaces of course.
We have had strong females in upper management positions but they are largely expats or from a non-western country like the Phillipines. I didn’t see Afghan women frequently elevated to positions of leadership (again, unless they were raised in the US or in the West). So it doesn’t come as a surprise to find this sort of thing happening in Iran despite the fact that I’ve been reminded over and over about the differences between the two countries, their histories, tribal differences, music, food, cooking, relgious practices etc. You’ll still find things in common like this bias.