Exploring the gender differences in selection of subjects at higher education levels

Aishath Shafina


This paper sheds light on the higher education system of the Maldives from the perspective of gender equality between men and women. The findings presented in the paper are based on the results of a survey conducted among students enrolled in higher education institutions and on desk-research of relevant policy documents. The study explores the reasons for patterns of enrolment, reasons for selection of a particular study field and influence over the decision for selecting a discipline to study in higher education. Choices of whether they are simply down to the interest of the individuals or a matter of availability and affordability are explored in the research. Pressure from family, peers, work environment, stereotypes of masculine and feminine ideology, and availability of employment opportunities associated with particular disciplines are also discussed within the framework of this study in order to understand their relevance to deciding subject choice in higher education. The research shows that students’ decision are affected by reasons beyond subject or discipline The study shows that gender dichotomy is very much prevalent in the higher education system of the Maldives.


Higher Education; Gender; Equality; Subjects; Discipline; Higher Education

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