17 women rectors, 322 women deans in Turkish universities: Education board head

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Some 17 women sit on the presidential chairs in Turkey’s 206 universities, while 322 womenoccupy dean’s offices out of 1797, Yekta Saraç, the head of Higher Education Board (YÖK), has said.

“In the state universities, of 1,388 deans some 216 are womenin the foundation universities, of 409 deans some 106 are women, corresponding to 18 percent. Some 17 of our rectors are women, corresponding to nine percent, out of 206 universities,” Saraç has told daily Hürriyet in an interview.

Saraç underlined that although there has been a 20 percent rise in the number of womendeans compared to previous years, the number of women rectors in universities are not on the desired level.

“It is a fact that there are less women (compared to men) who are applying for dean and rector positions and we need to address this issue,” he said.

The rate of women in academics has reached 45 percent, surpassing the European Union average, Saraç said.

“The recent figures show that there are 23,812 women research assistants whereas for men, this figure is 23, 228,” he said.

“Some 42,587 of postgraduate students are females. I attach serious importance to this figure for the future Turkey,” he said.

Regardless of these positive developments, women still face many obstacles and difficulties in academics, according to Saraç.

When asked about the violence, harassment and mobbing women in academia have been subjected to, Saraç stressed that a full scale campaign against these issues should be initiated.

“Even though the number of women who have been subjected to mobbing, violence and harassment is low in academia, we still fight against it. We are trying to raise an awareness [regarding this issue] in our universities,” he said.

There are units in charge of tackling with sexual harassment and mobbing cases inuniversities and they have been conducting works since 2015, said the YÖK president.

“There is also a separate unit within YÖK that women can apply to regarding this issue. We are taking the applications seriously,” Saraç said.

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