From the International Herald Tribune: In Asia, a New University for Women and the Status of Women in Academia

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The International Herald Tribune, the New York Times’ global edition, recently ran a number of stories in the Female Factor section of the IHT that explore educational and professional opportunities and challenges for women across Asia.

One story, University Caters to the Deprived, describes a new university (opened in 2008) in Bangladesh that is providing university-level education to women from low-resource settings across Asia.

From the story:

Nearly all of the students come from deprived backgrounds. Their room, board and education costs — which total about $15,000 a year — are covered by donations. Most of the students would not be here without the funding and the university’s female-only admissions policy.

They come from a dozen countries as varied as Cambodia, Sri Lanka, China, Myanmar, India and, of course, Bangladesh, where the university is located. They practice many religions and speak 33 languages…

…Ms. Wangmo, who had to walk several kilometers to submit her application, is the first woman from her village to attend a university…

…Taslima Khanam, who attends the Asian University for Women and is from Chittagong, is studying public health with the goal of helping the government of Bangladesh combat medical issues.

Read the full story here.

Another story, Philippines Leads Pack in Promoting Female Academics, explores the role of women, as well as the challenges they face, in academia throughout Asia–and highlights the Philippines as, in large part, a success story.

From the story:

Of more than 2,100 higher education institutions in the Philippines, 39 percent, or 850 institutions, were led by women in 2011, she said, citing figures from the Commission on Higher Education.

“In the Philippines there’s general acceptance or recognition of women’s ability to assume leadership positions, in higher education especially,” said Dr. Roman, 63, who was the university’s first female president. “Men are no longer threatened by women leaders.”

But Dr. Roman and her countrywomen are relatively rare examples of women reaching academia’s upper echelons in Asia, a region dominated by much lower levels of female participation in administrative and research roles.

Read the full story here.

Read more from the International Herald Tribune’s Female Factor.