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IOE Study Featured in International Academic Journal


IOE researcher Zumrad Kataeva’s paper entitled Gender and the Academic Profession in Contemporary Tajikistan: Challenges and Opportunities Expressed by Women Who Remain has been recently published in the Central Asian Survey academic journal.

Zumrad’s study aims to explore the negative impacts that post-Soviet Tajikistan’s cultural shifts and changes in the higher education landscape have been producing on gender diversity and women’s involvement in the academic profession. The paper also spotlights key factors and attitudes that enable Tajik women faculty members to better tackle the challenges and restrictions of the national sociocultural environment, supporting their choice to stay on the academic track.          

In Tajikistan’s more than two-decade long history as a sovereign state, girls’ access to basic compulsory learning and women’s participation in university education and further academic careers have never seen levels once reached in the country’s Soviet past, despite the government’s formal measures to foster gender equity.

This has reflected a post-Soviet environment of cultural reversal, with particular gender and institutional attitudes and perceptions largely framed by deeper rooted, patriarchal ethno-cultural legacy where less recognition and encouragement is given to women’s independence and pursuit of professional ambition. 

For a vast number of Tajik ladies, these pressing factors have inevitably meant less career choice, tougher job competition, and scant prospects to take up a senior faculty or administration role, amidst challenges of relatively low salaries, family and husband preclusion, and men-dominated university leadership.

Nonetheless, many of the women academics surveyed report being part of university faculty is still one of the most desirable life-paths they would always opt to espouse, as the academic niche allows for adequate flexibility in co-handling one’s family duties and beloved profession where personal fulfillment and inspiration derive from perennial social attitudes and values intrinsic in the educator’s role.             

Full paper