Gender-roles are still a real problem in the Arab world, and testimonies of such viewpoints are manifested heavily in the educational system.
The American University of Beirut (AUB) recently released its annual Fact Book, published by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA), and the split between genders in terms of departments is quite prominent.
The university compiled and released statistical data over the course of 2018-19, looking at various factors including enrollment, admissions, graduation, and gender-split by the available schools at AUB. The data revealed that women are the overwhelming majority in various departments, including the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences (FAFS), the Faculty of Health Science (FHS), and Rafic Hariri School of Nursing (HSON).
Overall, however, the percentage of males (51 percent) enrolled as undergraduate students slightly exceeds that of females (49 percent). To no one's surprise, the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA) was panned out to be a male-centric one.
To the dismay of gender-freedom-fighters, it seems that majors such as engineering and nursing, for example, still have a male/female mark distilled in their core.
According to AUB Fact Book (2018-19), 63 percent of those enrolled in the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture were male. The number of females (37 percent) pales in comparison in the stated department.
The same applies to the nursing school available at AUB in that the overwhelming majority of students enrolled in the undergraduate program are female (69 percent), rather than male. Terms such as nurse, engineer, doctor, and nutritionist have an attached gender to them though they are gender-less in and of themselves. This, thus, brings about the birth of gender-roles and what seems to be the belief in gendered-majors.
"Don't study engineering, it's for men," is a phrase many female engineering students have heard at least once in their lifetime. The belief in gender-roles is so instilled in society that choosing one's major is often deemed "good" or "bad" based on one's gender, not passion or skills as logic would assume. One's major sets the path of one's professional career, and God Forbid we see a female engineer dominating the sector (*chokes on sarcasm*).
The university's business school is the only one with a 50-50 split
The Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) has an equal number of male and female undergraduate students, the only department to have a 50-50 split between the binary genders.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) also had a minor difference between male and female undergraduate students, which makes sense considering the department has a plethora of majors including physics, computer science, English, media, mathematics, and others.
"Graduate" students at AUB are majority female
In total, 68 percent of graduate-level students at AUB - spanning all departments - are female. In fact, the percentage of female students surpasses that of males in all departments at the graduate level, except that of engineering and architecture (MSFEA).
Where are most AUB students from?
In its Fact Book, AUB also revealed the country of residence of its students. As expected, the majority of students who attended AUB over the course of the year are Lebanese nationals (7,382) followed by Arab expats (824), Europeans (306), Americans (722), and others (173).
Read the full report here.