The role of women in research: breaking down gender barriers

Professor Zahir Irani’s article on ‘The role of Women in research’ published in the Education (14th August 2014) reports on how female entrepreneurs and future leaders are making an impact in advanced study, breaking down gender barriers in the process.

profileZahirIraniIn his article, Professor Irani, explains that for women in the Middle East, studying overseas has traditionally been made difficult or even impossible by cultural differences with the West, preventing many women from benefiting from the academic rigour and traditions of the best British and American universities.  Middle East women have been prevented from benefiting from exposure to the latest thinking and culture of intellectual exploration and challenge.  The lack of representation has led to businesses in the region being cut off from the new perspectives and thinking of women involved in HR and business research.

“More must be done to help Middle Eastern women engage in high-level HR research”

explains Professor Irani.  With this in mind, the need to address the diversity issue was a key factor in driving the work at Brunel Business School in London and in forming a partnership with Ahlia University in Bahrain.  The partnership involves a PhD without residence which allows people to undertake a British research degree locally.  Professor Irani goes on to explain that the evidence of the actual need for alternative provision for women is demonstrated by applications to the new programme with half of the participants recruited from across the region being women, which is a higher percentage than expected for this type of higher research degree.

Professor Zahir Irani is Dean of the College of Business Arts and Social Sciences at Brunel University London.  Previously under his leadership, Brunel Business School received the Times Higher Education Award – Business School of the Year 2013. Professor Irani’s research interests are multidisciplinary in nature, and developed from early work on the area of evaluating investments in Manufacturing Information Systems through to more recent works in Transformational Government.

To find out more about the joint PhD between Brunel Business School and Ahlia University please visit the website.

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