Friday, January 08, 2016

The gilded cage

The Financial Times' Philip Stephens cites an unnamed Israeli diplomat musing on the long-term orientations of Iran and Saudi Arabia and how this probably favours Iran --

Any nation in this part of the world that allocated 60 per cent of its university places to women [Iran] had to have something going for it.

Fact: Iran and Saudi Arabia have very similar levels of female to male enrolment in university, both ratios favour women, and Saudi Arabia if anything has higher enrolments overall, so it's sending both more people and more women in particular to university than Iran.

Of course there are deeper issues at play, not least that going to university is a way for Saudi women to put in abeyance the later discrimination they'll face when they look for work. But a Davos-style factoid about Iran's university system -- which has its own downside -- is not very helpful.

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