etwork of W

Education and Training of Women

omen's NGOs of the I.R.I



Training and education has become widespread among people and promotion of

women’s education level is the main achievements and success of the Islamic

Republic of Iran in the last decade.

Holiness of training and education in Islam and emphasis of religious and political

leaders, especially Supreme Leader of Revolution, on the necessity of literacy, promotion

of trust among traditional and religious families regarding training and education

spheres after the Revolution that occurred along with expansion of schools

and observation of religious rules and moral security at girls’ schools, development

of tertiary education centers and changes in the lifestyle and living of people, are the

main successes of the country in this field.

Moreover, training and education is free and this is the main factor leading to its

widespread among people and the fact that all levels of the country have access to

training and education which is clearly defined in the Constitution.

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Article 30

The government must provide all citizens with free-education up to secondary

school, and must expand free higher education to the extent required by the country

for attaining self-sufficiency.


Twenty years vision of the country:

A society with knowledge, able in producing science and technology by using

national human resources and social capitals in national production.

Charter of Women’s Rights and Responsibilities

76. Right to enjoy regular literacy, educational promotion and facilities for women

77. Right to enjoy higher education up to the highest scientific level

78. Right to acquire specialized skills and educations both quantitatively and qualitatively

up to the highest levels

Current Situation and Achievements


Equal Access to Education

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to the constitution, general education is

free for all levels of the country. The reason that Islamic Republic of Iran emphasizes

on education is that Islam has emphasized on education and the Prophet of

Islam has stated: “One should learn from birth to death”.

In graph 2, the level of education at the age of 6 and over in the country from 1996

to 2004 has been stated according to sex for all provinces of the country.

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In all provinces of the country there is no discrimination to reach complete education

for the whole population. Even in other provinces of the country that have a

language other than the formal language of the country (Farsi) and those that have

other religions (such as Sunni) other than the formal religion of the country, during

the last 10 years, there has been a significant increase in the level of education.

From 1996 to 2004, the rate of education among the population of 6 years of age

and above has increased from 79.5 to 84.7, which represents a growth of 5 percent.

The growth rate of literacy among men has been 84.7 percent in 1996 and it has

reached 88.9 percent in 2004. The same rate for women has been 74.2 percent in

1996 and 80.3 percent in 2004. The interesting point is that the difference between

education rate of men and women has decreased from 10 percent in 1996 to 8 percent

in 2004. In 1956, only one percent of rural women have been educated and the

difference between level of education between men and women has been 15 percent

so that 7 percent of women and 22 percent of men have been educated (Center of

Statistics of Iran, Summary of General Census of the Country). In Tehran, as the

capital, the level of education has been 91 percent in this year and in Sistan and

Baluchistan level of education was 71 percent. Among women, again Tehran had

the highest level of education as 88 percent and the lowest was in Sistan and

Baluchistan with 64 percent.

In 1994 the level of education of women in Sistan and Baluchistan was 49 percent

while in 2004 with 15 percent increase it reached to 64 percent. The difference of

level of education between men and women in this province has been 14 percent

where in Tehran this rate is 5 percent. It is clear that as a result of the growth in education

level, the difference between level of education of women and men decreases.

Primary Education

The ratio of the population that registered in primary school to the total population

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at this age has been 90.5 percent in 1996 and in 2002 this ratio increased to 97.3

percent. This ratio increased from 92.3 to 97.9 percent for boys and 88.7 to 96.7 percent

for girls. The statistics show that 2 percent of boys and 3 percent of girls have

not received basic education in this period (ICPD & MDG, SCI Selected Indicators

in Iran).

Only one percent difference between boys and girls shows that there is no sex preference

in general education. Providing facilities for villages with very small population

and for moving nomads is very difficult. In between, boys have better opportunities

to go to neighboring villages to study and this is where that one percent difference

comes from.

The ratio of the population that registered in pre- high school has increased from

69.7 percent in 1996 to 71.4 percent in 2002, accordingly from 71.9 percent to 73.6

percent for boys and 67.3 percent to 71 percent for girls.

In the villages, the number of primary schools is more than pre-high school and

enjoys more education facilities. Many students, after graduation from primary

school, quit because there is no pre-high school and they don’t have the possibility

to continue their education.

In urban areas, the percentage of the population that registered in pre-high school

has increased from 81.2 percent in 1996 to 81.7 percent in 2002, while in rural areas

it has been 52 in 1996 and has reached 60.1 that represents a significant difference

with that of urban areas. The ratio of primary education in urban areas is 93.5 and

98.7 and in rural areas are 87.1 and 95.9.

The ratio of those who reached fifth grade and those in first grade at 1999 has been

92.2 percent, 92.6 percent for boys and 91.8 percent for girls, which has a big difference

with the 80 percent defined in the document of the Beijing Platform for


Among the provinces of the country, Tehran with more than 99 percent of students

in one primary school level in 5 levels is the maximum and Sistan and Baluchistan

with 76.6 percent has the minimum. Lack of possibilities to continue education due

to economic problems and lack of support from family is the reason of low education

level in Sistan and Baluchistan.

It is worth mentioning that this ratio is 80 percent less than the one defined in the

Beijing Platform for Action that this rate for girls in Sistan and Baluchistan with 72

percent is less than 80 percent. This rate for girls in other provinces is higher than

80 percent and for men in Sistan and Baluchistan it is 80.2 percent.

Tertiary Education

To evaluate gender discrimination based on the existing statistics, the rate of female

students of governmental and other national universities has become more than men

during the last decades (number of female students in education centers has

increased from 28.4 percent in 1986-87 to 42.5 percent in 2003-04. Also, the number

of female students accepted in governmental universities has increased from 29

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percent in 1986-87 to 54 percent in 2003-04. In Azad Islamic University, a non-governmental

university, the percentage has reached 51 from 45. Number of female students

has also increased.)

Women can study in any field but there are certain limitations for men in some medical

fields related to women.

Skills Training

Researches have been conducted regarding skills and vocational training for

employment in the Organization of Vocational Training of the Ministry of Interior

and the Ministry of Science, so that the number of trained students has been 142000

in 1996 and has reached 425000 in 2002. Also, number of students, especially girls,

in various fields has increased. The number of female post graduate students- which

is a way to get into employment- has reached 71000 in governmental universities

and 133000 in private universities while in 1996-97 this ratio has been 27 and

30000. This increase can be observed in all levels so that the number of female students

in governmental and private centers has increased from 460000 in 1996-97 to

one million students in 2003-04.

Social Participation in Promotion of Education

Providing university education, employment plans, skills training and working

experience for young women to achieve preparedness for complete social participation

should be conducted in cooperation with parents, NGOs such as Nation Youth

Organization, associations and private sector. The number of trained forces, especially

women, has increased in the last decade, so that the number of those educated

from tertiary education centers has increased to almost double from 150000 in

1996-97 to 280000.

The growth of female students can be traced in all fields. The number of female students

at technical and specialized PhD level has increased from 5574 in governmental

and private universities in 1996-97 to 6124 in 2003-04.

Education Expenses

In Iran, public education according to the Constitution is free including primary

school up to PhD level.

From 1986 up to 1996 the number of girl students of the country increased from 6.4

up to 10 million and in 2003 it decreased to 8.6. The most important point is that is

the ratio of girl students. In 1986-87 almost 42 percent of students were girls while

in 1996-97 this number reached 47 percent and increased to 48 percent in 2003-04

which represents a significant growth.

Equal Access to Education

Number of girl students from 42 in 1986-87 has increased to 48 percent in 2003-04

and the ratio of girl students in governmental universities from 36 percent in 1996-

97 has increased to over 53 percent.

B- Preparing education programs for teachers and trainers to promote their knowledge

regarding their role in the process of education and equip them with gender

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of the Islamic Republic of Iran

sensitive strategies.

In Iran, there is an Association of Teachers and Parents with 50 years of history and

is an organization dependant on thought of parents and teachers to strengthen the

links of families and school to achieve the goals of defining and creating the sense

of responsibility among parents and teachers and raise awareness among teachers

and trainers regarding education issues of children, adolescence, and young students

according to their social needs.



Promoting women’s access to education

By the increase of number of students in different education fields, the ratio of girl

students has increased to almost 36 and 41 percent accordingly in governmental and

private universities and in 1996-97 it reached to over 50 and 53 percent at governmental

universities and 49.7 percent at private universities. The number of girl students

in medicine increased from 52 percent at governmental universities and 83

percent at Azad University in 1996-97 to 53 and 87 percent.

Also in technical and engineering fields, the ratio of girl students during 1996 to

2003 has almost doubled and the number of these students in private and governmental

universities has almost become 4 times more. In art fields, the number of girl

students has increased from 53 to 70 percent and the number of 12000 has become

6000. In all fields, the number of boy students has decreased in 2003-04 in comparison

to 1996-97.

Education fields to promote income for women

During the last ten years, the number of girl students has increased in agricultural

and husbandry fields (In 1996-97 the number of female students has increased from

7887 at governmental universities and 2554 at private universities to 29000 and

21000 in 2003-04. also the number of female students in agriculture and husbandry

has increased from 24% and 6% in governmental and private universities in 1996-

97 to 51% and 29% in 2003-04 which is a significant growth.

Women’s participation in scientific and technical fields

In the past, the number of girl students in technical, and agricultural fields was rare

while this number has increased now. In 1996-97 at governmental universities, 701

students were studying in agriculture and husbandry and 1093 students were studying

in vocational fields while in 2003-04 these numbers became 5 times more and

reached to 4178 and 5865. The ratio of girl students in these fields in 1996-97 it was

13 and 6 percent while in 2003-04 it reached to 42% and 17% which proves

women’s interest in these fields during recent years.

Also, at Azad university has opened opportunity of studying in agricultural and

vocational fields for women so that in 1996-97 only 3.8 and 6.7 percent of the students

were girls while this ratio reached to 22.7 and 18.7 percent in 2003-04. also

the number of students in these fields increased from 160 and 623 in 1996-97 to

more than 10 times more to 1634 and 7648.


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Non- discriminatory Education

In Iran, especially after the Islamic Revolution, there has been special emphasis on

education with no discrimination among men and women. According to this policy,

not only the number of students increased but also the number of teachers and trainers

at higher level education also increased. In 1986-87only 2292 female professors

were teaching at governmental universities and this number at private universities

was 2285 while in 2003-04 these numbers increased 5.4 and 2.4 times and reached

12412 and 5521 whereas the number of male teachers has not increased with the

same ratio.

Also, the ratio of female teachers at governmental and private universities in 1986

has been 16 and 12.5 percent and in 2003-04 it reached 18.3 and 16 percent.

According to the statistics provided in this chapter, considering that the number of

female students and teachers is increasing it seems that education conditions are

good for women in the country so that there is now the concern to increase men’s

education and it shows that in this stage there is no discrimination.

Government’s Actions

Promoting girls’ access to education in deprived areas

Implementing vocational training for girls deprived from education and attracting

them to primary education courses

Holding literacy classes and improving education levels among those in prisons and

support measures in the country

Establishing boarding schools for girls

Allocating literacy activities mostly to rural areas for women

Implementing self-reliance plans at boarding schools

Training female trainers for skills training of girls and teaching computer to them

Empowerment of female deans in nomadic schools

Enhancing education and sport facilities for boy and girls

Amending article 3 regarding sending students to other countries for education to

give the opportunity to married girls

Providing opportunities for teachers to study in “women’s studies” at masters

degree in universities.

Eradicating gender cliché in training materials

Holding trainings on rights as a pilot project in 6 provinces of the country

Establishing women’s study center and groups at 7 universities

Training 150 female trainers for NGOs in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior

Activities of Women’s NGOs

In general, 268 activities have been undertaken by women’s NGOs, most of

them in other cities and the target groups have been mainly deprived and vulnerable

women. The activities have been mainly empowerment trainings.

Training workshops for empowerment of NGO members or other target groups by

the aim of empowerment and creating gender sensitivity and promoting participation

in various cultural and social activities

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Holding conferences and technical meetings for training and providing opportunities

for information exchange

Publishing training materials and books for further clarifications in women’s issues

Creating training groups for women dependant or directed by NGOs

Training women as the head of families, rural and vulnerable women and young

girls for empowerment, income generation and entrepreneurship for women

Creating spaces for organizational learning in certain women’s NGOs

Individual and group consultations to diverse groups of women regarding health,

reproduction, and living skills after marriage

Creating opportunities as institutes and schools to promote women’s access to education


Conducting research on women’s issues

Establishing libraries for women in deprived areas to promote women’s access to

written literature

Meetings and speeches for information dissemination to women

Providing funds to girls who have been deprived from education

Meetings for critical discussions on books and book exhibition

Conducting training maneuvers for women

Providing training materials and tools

Giving scientific articles and holding meetings regarding women’s education issues.

The training activities of women’s NGOs are usually based on two types of trainings

including training members and general women’s groups.

The significant growth of NGOs during the last years, have made empowerment

through training a strategic activity for both governmental authorities and the NGOs

themselves. Most of the allocated budget by government has been spent on trainings

especially workshops. However, these trainings are basically limited to members

of the NGOs and have not reached public groups of women.

Also, training materials are at the primary stages and they don’t follow any standards.

However, the training groups on gender issues are being formed and increasing,

though weak information dissemination prevents increase of technical and scientific

knowledge. One of the main steps of NGO activists has been establishing the

trainer network of NGOs.

CNWN Activities

Planning and creating non-governmental management at MS level at Azad


Planning a specialized library

Fourth National Development Plan

The government should undertake the following actions to ensure equal access to

education, enhancement of knowledge, skills and promotion of using human

resources, especially girls in qualitative and quantitative development of public


Providing facilities for public education

To make education obligatory up to high school level and providing facilities in

areas where the Ministry of Education needs assistance to help to achieve this goal

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Challenges and Constraints

Lack of balance between working opportunities and level of education of women

Since number of girl schools is less than those of boys, and also due to this fact

girls’ sportive environments have to be covered, then they need more education and

sport spaces

Despite the Government’s efforts, still the vocational and technical fields for girls

are less than boys

Though girls achieve better than boys; but due to cultural barriers in the families,

level of girls continuing to pre-high school is less than boys

Although the primary school books have been revised there are still cliché pictures

of girls in those books

Observing moralities in girls’ schools in comparison to boys which can affect girls’

education destiny up to university

Lack of boarding schools for girls in remote villages

Recommendation to Government

Eradication of gender discrimination in allocating scholarships

Reinforcing gender-sensitive vocational consultation at schools, far from any discrimination,

providing vocational trainings to encourage girls to follow university

education and create future working opportunities

Improving women’s crucial role in research programs

Advocacy and formal agricultural and food item production training

Providing education materials for trainers and teachers to equip them with gender

sensitive strategies of teaching

Supporting gender researches at all levels especially at MS and above degrees

Prioritizing provisions of recreation and sport centers and 24 hour schools for girls

in remote areas

Recognizing informal literacy and skills training of women and girls in education


Promoting electronic education to enhance women’s and girls access to training


Recommendation to Women’s NGOs

Providing workshop training methods for vocational programming

Leadership, social and living skills training to promote young girls’ participation

Diverting training strategies toward external target groups especially local communities

Encouraging adults and families to education to promote public level of education

Reinforcement of sport and recreation spaces and trips for young girls to compensate

for shortcomings of education system

Standardizing gender training materials and literature for NGOs and enhancing

these trainings toward integrating gender issues in other technical fields of NGOs

such as environment, and health to prevent segregations

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Provisions for preparing written literature from women’s knowledge which exists

traditionally in different culture of Iran such as methods of preserving food items,

herbal medicine,…

Volunteer training to disabled, displaced, and refugee women who don’t have

access to formal training centers (creating informal schools for them)

Requests for presence in meetings and programming committees for women in governmental


Reinforcing e-learning centers

Monitoring training budgets of the government for women and submitting evaluations

to authorities to amend policies and programs for girls

Creating gender sensitive consultation centers for directing girls in education

Implementing advocacy and cultural activities in cooperation with religious and

local social leaders to encourage families to permit their daughters to continue education.


The efforts of Government to expand and develop training and education and proper

social, and religious arena and deep roots of necessity of training and education

in Iranian customs and traditions has eliminated illiteracy among boys and girls in

Iran. Also, encouraging middle age and old people to literacy through special centers

is also a promising step in this regard.

The measures taken show that the level of literacy in 1986 has been 62 percent and

at this stage it has reached to approximately 85 percent. The level of literacy among

rural women in 1956 was only 1 percent while in 2004 it reached to over 70 percent.

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However, the number of male graduates and professors at universities is more than

women (in 1996-1997 there were 34 percent graduates from university where in

2003-2004 it reached to 47 percent). Nevertheless, it is expected that in the future

the number of female graduates will be more than males and in further far future the

ratio of females involved in training will be more than it ratio now which is 20 percent.

In the past, tendency of girls to technical engineering and agricultural courses has

been less but now the interest has increased. In the recent years, the girls are more

interested in medical and art fields so that the ratio of girls in these courses in double

of the boys.

Training and education situation of the country shows that training and education

level of women in Iran is higher than the provisions of the Beijing Platform for

Action and the MDGs.

Tables and Graphs

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