Reflecting on her own academic journey, the Jordanian molecular biologist Rana Dajani observes that the underrepresentation of women in science is a “global phenomenon” and not an issue for Arabs alone.
In an interview Al-Fanar Media, Dajani said that Arabs do not have a problem with female education, as “more than 80 percent of girls enrol in science and mathematics.” The real problem, she said, begins with the labour market, where women’s representation significantly lags behind that of men. This gap applies to both the East and the West.
“The problem is that we are not asking the right question,” Dajani said. Instead of, “Do women really want to enter the labour market?” she would change the emphasis: “We must respect women’s choice. Society should not dictate its conditions to them.”
Hurdles on the Path to a Ph.D.
In 2005, Dajani received her Ph.D. degree in molecular biology from the University of Iowa, in the United States. She returned to her homeland in 2006 to work as an assistant professor in the Hashemite University’s Faculty of Science.
Her journey to achieving her doctorate came a decade and a half after her graduation from the University of Jordan’s Faculty of Science with a Bachelor of Science in biology in 1989. She went on to earn a master’s degree in 1992.