Jerusalem24 – Palestinian women with advanced educational degrees are less likely to be employed in the workforce than anywhere else in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, a new report by the World Bank has found.
Against the background of tawjihi, Nadia Asalia, an engineer and instructor in the department of architectural engineering at Birzeit University, talks to Jerusalem24 to try and offer some perspective on the matter to incoming and graduating students who may be distraught at the thought.
“From my personal experience when I started looking for jobs in the architectural world, my major problem was the lack of connections, lack of reachability in the work market,” Asali says.
“Male students in their fifth year start working on their CVs,” Asali explains. “What I’ve noticed is that male students have work experience much earlier on, most start working in their third year, whereas female students wait till graduation to start going into the workfield.”
“It creates a problem. What happens is that male students start building their connections, their knowledge in the working environment.”
The highest unemployment rate among female graduates aged 20 to 29 years with an intermediate diploma or bachelor’s degree in Palestine was in welfare as well as information and communication technologies (ICTs) at 78%, according to the PBS.
Asali believes that the reasoning behind this persisting gender gap is how we train women and men differently. She says: “Men are early on trained to be independent… Women are trained and treated to be independent after they’re done with college. They’re asked to only focus on their studies and degree, then start looking for a job,”
“From the third year on, in engineering, everyone should be looking for jobs and opportunities. I encourage my students to actually try opportunities whether locally or abroad.”
“The thing is, as a very young student it’s easy to make mistakes, but sometimes it’s easier when you try it out,” Asali emphasizes.
Listen to the full interview on Vibes.