Profiles of Women in STE in Iraq


Literacy Rate(2006)  24.4%
Primary School Enrollment(1995-1999)  87%
Secondary School Enrollment(1995-1999)  32%
Tertiary School Enrollment  N/A
Percentage of Women among Students Studying Science
(1995/1996 School Year)
Percentage of Women among Students Studying Medicine
(1995/1996 School Year)
Percentage of Women among Students Studying Engineering
(1995/1996 School Year)


2006 Female Labor Force Participation Rate:  N/A
Wage Equality for Similar Work(Ratio of women’s wage to men’s wage)  N/A
Enterprise-Level Policies to Combat and Prevent Sexual Harassment  N/A
    • In 1979, a literacy law required all illiterate people between the ages of 15-45 to attend free literacy classes. Currently, Iraq upholds a Compulsory Education law, which mandates that children between the ages of six and 10 must attend school; after this parents are permitted to withdraw their daughters if they so choose. After the 1990 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein ordered that all schooling be gender-segregated. Female enrollment in primary school from 1995-1999 was at 87%; however, female enrollment sharply dropped to 32% in secondary school. Women were fairly active in the sciences in the early 1990s — 40% of female students involved in BSc. courses were female, and women made up 47% of those studying basic science, 61% of those studying engineering, and 30% of those studying medicine. However, these numbers had dropped by the 1995-1996 school year, as women then comprised only 33.7% of students studying basic science, 19.7% of those studying engineering, and 26.4% of those studying medicine. Data has been largely unavailable for the post-US invasion period, but it seems that girls are starting to go back to higher education
    • After the 1990 Gulf War, many women were either fired or driven out of the work force through low wages in a campaign to return women to the home. For the limited date available in Iraq today, this seems to largely remain the case.
  • While Iraqi businesswomen can sign contracts, hire and fire employees, and represent themselves in court, this was not always the case under Saddam’s regime. Efforts were taken by the government to dissuade women from entering the workforce.


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