On this year’s International Women’s Day, we consider the importance of women’s empowerment through high quality, accessible education for all. The day provides an occasion for teachers, parents and mentors across the globe to educate and inspire students about gender issues that remain prevalent today. Celebrating women’s achievements (within and beyond academia) and challenging gender biases is one step in moving towards a world of equality.
At BSBI, we stress the importance of employing talented women as international educators who can inspire and motivate our students. Today, we would like to shine a light on the highly regarded member of our teaching staff, Dr Elham, Lecturer and Scientific Journal Associate Editor at BSBI.
Dr Elham Shirvani achieved her PhD in the faculty of History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Literature at Technische Universität Berlin, Germany. She then went on to gain a Postdoctoral in Philosophy of Education at Humboldt University of Berlin. Her main research area is in embodied cognition and learning and she is currently researching pedagogy and phenomenology at Heidelberg. In celebration of International Women’s Day, we caught up with her to find out about her work experience, inspiration, challenges and achievements.
Dr Elham was born and raised in Iran before moving to Germany for her higher education studies. She revealed that her first inspiration of a “super powerful and intelligent woman” was her mother, who supported and encouraged her to go above and beyond and achieve her dreams. When asked what she believes to be the most vital contribution of women educators, she responded:
“The first thing is a better world through education. Perhaps the most powerful solution of all, is to educate girls and women. Research shows better educated women tend to be healthier, earn more, marry later, have fewer children and healthier children. If a woman chooses to be a mother, her education is the single most important factor in children's life outcomes. Importantly, educated women lift families, communities, and countries out of poverty.”
Stressing the importance of education for women on an individual, communal and political level, Dr Elham reminds us why access to education for all remains a vital goal today.
When asked about the prevailing challenges women face today, Dr Elham describes that although women generally find themselves in a better situation than the past – a lot of issues remain. She raises the problem of a lack of education available to women in some parts of the world, domestic abuse and genital mutilation.
In regards to her teaching methods, Dr Elham stresses the importance of removing gender stereotypes from learning materials and incorporating gender-responsive pedagogies in teacher training and professional development to ensure a fair and inclusive education for all. Concluding our chat, Dr Elham leaves all BSBI students with this inspiring message to hold on to:
“One of the strongest instruments to change your life is education. You can bring your dreams to life with the correct education.”
Happy International Women’s Day to all of our BSBI students – keep challenging stereotypes, breaking barriers and achieving your dreams!