Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day


UoPeople would like to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day by highlighting some of the gains made toward gender-equality in education that have happened globally, and some of the areas where there is still room for improvement.

The first co-educational college in the world, Oberlin College, opened in Ohio in 1833. It wasn’t until another 147 years later, in 1980, that women crossed the 50% threshold to make up 51% of college students—in the USA. Globally today, gender equality in education has made great gains, such as in Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, and Russia, where the vast majority of college graduates are women. Educational changes in favor of women have advanced rapidly around the world, but cultural changes are slower in adoption, leaving many women still struggling to gain equal access to higher education. For example, travel restrictions on women continue to play a role in restricting access to higher education for many women. In addition to cultural hindrances, women often juggle childbirth and childrearing as challenging obstacles to higher education.

The advent of the internet’s borderless delivery of learning material has made it possible for women facing travel restrictions or family obligations to gain access to education. Many of the female students at UoPeople are mothers and primary caregivers who need the flexibility of online learning. In addition, it is an unfortunate fact that while both men and women suffer from poverty around the world, a majority in poverty are women. Many of our female students have expressed a sincere appreciation that without the affordable tuition-free model of UoPeople, they would not have been able to pursue higher education.

With all the challenges women are facing to gain higher education, we at University of the People face challenges to reach equal representation of men and women in our own student body. Currently, men vastly outnumber women in our student body and we wish to change this ratio. Do you have any suggestions on how we can reach more women who desire tuition-free online higher education?

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About President Shai Reshef

Starting in 1989, Shai Reshef served as chairman of the Kidum Group, a test preparation company, which he sold in 2005 to Kaplan, one of the world’s largest education companies. While chairman of Kidum, he built an online university affiliated with the University of Liverpool, enrolling students from more than 100 countries; that business was sold to Laureate, another large for-profit education company, in 2004. A vessel for universal higher education, UoPeople has the enormous potential to function as a global stimulus package, reaching even the most remote and poorest places on earth. Our ultimate mission is to democratize higher education and, if the past two years are any indication, this is not merely a pipe dream.
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2 Responses to Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day

  1. Shai Reshef says:

    Aruna,

    Thank you for your comment. Our application fee is on a sliding scale based on the country of residence. If you are in India (as you mentioned the INR in your comment), the application fee will be $20, not $50. You may see the pdf regarding fees here: http://www.uopeople.org/files/application_fee_table.pdf

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

  2. Aruna says:

    >Do you have any suggestions on how we can reach more women who desire tuition-free online higher education?<

    Well, can you make it totally free for women at least? Application, exam fees et al.
    Can you provide an alternative 'volunteer' mode instead?

    I can process my own application, if need be 😀

    Your current application fee of 50 USD = 2244 INR.
    + unknown exam fee = 😦

    To have missed the unknown cut-off date (March 7,2011) by 3 days = 'ouch' 😀

    Would like to learn, I think and your website is pleasing to the eyes and calms the mind [even though it still has a flicker banner 😦 ] when compared to other free education websites.

    And even though I would like to try out one of your courses, I don't think I will be able to pay.

    But I would like to volunteer my way through the courses if possible. 🙂

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