UCEM awarded two research grants to explore gender equality challenges in 2024

Posted on: 4 January, 2024

UCEM is proud to have received two more externally funded research grants from the British Council to continue its exploration of gender equality.

These two projects follow three previous grants UCEM received in 2023, which led to successful research in Egypt and Jordan in the form of project workshops and reflect UCEM’s continued efforts to champion gender equality on an international scale.

UCEM is one of the most prominent universities to research gender quality when it comes to externally funded projects, and has now received five research grants from the British Council on this topic. What’s more, through partnerships with other universities based across the world, this project has effectively become a nexus of six countries collaborating to investigate gender equality in detail.

The new grants, which will focus on gender equality Pakistan and Brazil, are 12 months in duration. More information on each can be found below.

Ensuring a safe transition from higher education to empowerment for women in Pakistan through eliminating violence and creating safe learning spaces; Safe4All

Project value: £24,950

Partnership with International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), Pakistan

According to research by the UN, almost 1 in 3 women are affected by gender-based violence (GBV) in their lifetime. Pakistan faces a particular challenge to curb GBV – it ranks poorly on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023, with 70% of women in the country experiencing violence. What’s more, the female workforce is limited to 22% due to the risk of sexual harassment and assault.

This threat of violence and harassment, as well as the culture of masculinity, patriarchy and abuse in Pakistan, mean women are afraid to work outside the home. It also extends to their experience in educational institutions, with a report by Plan International finding that an estimated 250 million male and female students are subjected to acts of violence every year in various educational environments.

This project, led by Dr Muhammad Qasim Rana will look to increase the provision of education for women and establish secure learning environments, with the goal of facilitating women’s empowerment, fostering inclusivity and disrupting the perpetuation of equality in Pakistan.

Challenging prejudicial attitudes and structures for career equality for women graduates in Brazil; Equal-Brazil

Project value: £24,900

Partnership with Universidade Estadual do Maranhão (UEMA), Brazil

Women in Brazil, while more likely to have attained a tertiary qualification, are less likely to be employed than men, according to a sobering report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The belief that completing a degree leads to better opportunities does not hold true for women in Brazil, and while the focus of the Brazilian government has been on providing access to education, support and measures of gender progress have yet to be explored.

This project, led by Prof Angela Lee aims to identify the challenges that women graduates face in the transition to employment, understand political, economic, social and cultural boundaries, and develop action plans to mitigate these barriers.