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Written and Unwritten Discrimination Against Iranian Women Journalists
Women become journalists under subsidies22 June 2012
Reported by Sara Mohseni
Translated by Rose Arjmand
Khabarnegaran.info-Recently rumours had it that the journalism degree at master level at Allameh Tabatabai University was subsidized based on genders. If this one was a rumour, elimination of two majors from MA level of this university in the coming year is a fact. Public Relations and Journalism at MA level were removed from the list of new students’ options.
The Arman Newspaper announced that “gender subsidies was imposed on journalism major at MA level at Allameh Tabatabai University” and stated that this university was no longer accepting female students at this major.
This newspaper quoted a few female students who applied for MA of journalism saying they met all the criteria and received acceptable results in the entrance exam of the university; still their name was not announced among the accepted students. Sanjesh Organization, the organization in charge of the entrance exam of public universities in Iran made a minor change in the exam report of female applicants. Sanjesh Organization did not mention the female students’ grade or marks in their reports. It simply mentioned that “Only Male Applicants Are Permitted to Apply for This Major.” The paper even raised this concern that lecturers and the principle of Allameh Tabatabi University did not know about the latest changes. However, minute investigations showed that the news was actually a rumour based on a literal mistake made by Sanjesh Organization.
A female applicant of this major clarifies the ambiguity for us saying: “Sanjesh Organization chose the title of the majors without taking any details in consideration. They divided the journalism program in three majors: Social Communication Sciences, Media Management, and Journalism. However, Sanjesh Organisation did not explain what universities offer which major.
She adds: “such naming and vague choice of title made applicants believe that Journalism major was offered at Allameh University although it was offered by Iran Broadcasting College and only accepted male applicants. So at the end female applicants received reports showing they did not pass the exam.” This applicant states: “such vague choice of title actually led to failure of some applicants. They would have been accepted if they chose the right major at the right university.”
She went on to say: “Basically Allame Tabatabai University is accepting more students this year compared to last year. This year Allameh University accepts 20 female and 20 male applicants. Last year it accepted 34 applicants in overall.”
Gender Subsidies of Journalism at Allameh University Allameh Tabatabai University accepts 40 students — 20 female students and 20 male students — this year. One of the current students of Allameh University who is studying journalism told Khabarnegaran.info: “the gender subsidy is actually a new phenomenon in this field. The application process was a competitive process which led to close competition among female and male applicants. Before that female applicants won more chairs at the university; now it does not matter if girls study more or boys. Although boys study less, they are given the same chances.”
She continues: “with the new gender subsidies, efforts are going to be meaningless. Doesn’t matter how hard girls try, still they are deprived of their true rights.”
Elimination of BA Journalism at Allameh University
MA applicants felt relieved after the rumours were denied. However, BA applicants must worry about their options being limited.
An applicant told us: “Communication Sciences at BA level at Allemeh Tabatabai University covered three programmes: Journalism, Public Relations, Information and Communications Technology (ICT). ICT was a merely new programme added to the university majors. However, after three years the evaluations showed that it did not reach its indicated goals. ICT is now removed from the programmes.”
He went on saying: “as ICT was removed from the list of programmes, Communication Sciences is left with two programmes: Journalism and Public Relations. Allameh University decided to eliminate the programmes. This decision will leave the university with the ‘general’ Communication Sciences, which leads to more limited number of admission.”
This source added that the latest reform was approved in the university and specially in its Communication Sciences Faculty. Although one programme is removed and the in near future the major will be just ‘general’ Communication Sciences; more programmes will be added at the MA level: Public Relations, Journalism, and Communication Studies.
According to this informed source of ours, the main modules of the new Communication Sciences major will be designed based on three perspectives: “being Islamic”, “being according to the latest sciences” and “being practical”. A group of seven lecturer and a group of supervisors are managing the new changes. It seems that there is a lot going on the Communication Department of Allameh Tabatabai University that can directly influence the next generation’s knowledge of journalism and their skill in newsrooms of newspapers in the country.
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