Republic of Armenia Leveling the stem playing Field for Women

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Report No: ACS21924


Republic of Armenia

Leveling the STEM Playing Field for Women

Differences in Opportunity and Outcomes in Fields of Study and the Labor Market


May 2017





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Acknowledgments 4

List of Acronyms 5

Executive Summary 6

I. Women and Work: Europe and Central Asia 9

II. Women in Armenia: Overview of Trends 12

II.1 Armenia’s Global Gender Gap score 12

II.2 Armenia’s Legal Framework for Gender Policy 16

II.3 Imbalanced Sex Ratios in Armenia 17

II.4 Armenian Women’s Access to Land and Finance 17

III. Why STEM is Important for Women in Armenia 19

IV. Barriers to Translating Academic Success into Labor Market Participation 21

V. Women and Education in Armenia 23

V.1 Overview of Armenia’s Educational Structure 23

V.2 Overview of STEM Education in Armenia 25

V.3 TUMO Center for Creative Technologies 27

V.4 Barriers to Women’s Education in Armenia 28

V.4.1 Access 28

V.4.2 Information asymmetries 29

V.4.3 Institutional failures in implementation 29

V.4.3.1 Mainstreaming action on equality between women and men 29

V.4.3.2 Textbooks 30

V.4.3.3 Teaching staff 31

V.4.3.4 Response to incentives for men 32

V.4.4 Stereotypes 32

V.4.4.1 Gender bias 32

V.4.4.2 STEM stereotypes 33

VI. Women and Work in Armenia 36

VI.1 Overview of Women’s Employment in Armenia 36

VI.2 STEM Jobs by Sector 37

VI.2.1 Information and communication technology 39

VI.2.2 Construction 40

VI.2.3 Mining 40

VI.2.4 Scientific institutions 40

VI.2.5 Electricity 40

VI.3 Barriers to Women’s Employment in Armenia 41

VI.3.1 Time constraints 41

VI.3.2 Systems failure 42

VI.3.2.1 Stereotype threat: What is women’s work? 42

VI.3.2.2 STEM fields and the “hungry engineer” 44

VI.3.2.3 Workplace practices 45

VI.3.2.4 The glass ceiling 46

VII. Conclusions: What Can Be Done to Improve Equality of Opportunity and Outcomes in STEM? 47

ANNEX 1: Explaining Inequality between Men and Women in Education and at Work 50

Explaining Inequality in Education 50

Access 50

Information factors 50

Educational failure: Systems 51

Stereotype threat 51

Explaining Inequality at Work 51

Time 52

Access 55

Access to land 55

Access to finance 56

Institutional and market failures 56

Information gaps 56

Structures 56

Bias 57

At home… 57

At work… 57

Summarizing the Relative Importance of These Factors in Combination 59

ANNEX 2: Overview of Qualitative Research Methods 60

Methodological Approach 60

Research Participants 61

Key Informant Interviews 62

In-depth Interviews with Employees 62

Focus Groups 62

ANNEX 3: Equity in Education and at Work: Global Best Practice 64


Changing Systems 65

Overcoming Stereotype Threat 66

STEM-Specific Policies 68


Time 72

Access 73

Overcoming Market and Institutional Bias 74

The promise of behavioral design 74

STEM-Specific Policies 75




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