COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF HIGHER EDUCATION BY UNIVERSITY EDUCATED WOMEN IN IRAN: THE TAIL OF SELF FULFILLING PROPHECY AND LOW LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION

M. Ghazi-Tabatabaei, Z. Karimi

University of Tehran (IRAN)
Number of women with professional degrees, occupying high end jobs and positions has been increasing all over the world. Despite the fact that the number of Iranian women in universities and college in Iran has been increasing steadily during past 10 years and more than 60 % of all those admitted to the universities and colleges in Iran are women, such increase has translated itself into noticeable increase in labor force participation and professional and high end jobs and positions for Iranian women. This is basically due to cultural, legal and structural obstacles facing women’s employment in Iran, which in turn leads to self fulfilling prophecy of negative outcome in their cost benefit analysis of time, energy and resources spent. This in turn further debilitates and discourages them to get involved in professional arenas. A nationally representative sample of 558 university educated Iranian women responded to questions about their experiences after their graduation. The results show a self fulfilling prophecy mechanism at work, that lead them to believe that the time, energy and costs involved were not compensated and they don’t think that getting a higher professional degree has been a profitable investment for them.