Suppose, however, that women in that country show a lot more spunk and desire for education than men, many of whom appear to be interested only in making the most money from the least effort.
Suppose you've reached a point at which women make up 65 percent of university students, and that they routinely perform at a much higher level than their male counterparts, and they're starting to expect something approaching ... gasp! ... equal rights.
What are the men in authority to do? Should they have an "Aha!" moment and recognize the great, untapped potential that they've been ignoring? Should they seek ways to integrate these intelligent, educated, and motivated women into leadership positions so they can help move the country forward?
Or, feeling threatened by so many educated females, should they solve the discrepancy by banning women from fields of study in which they want men to retain a monopoly?
That's the course recently taken by the increasingly insecure leaders of Iran, where women have been barred from pursuing more than 70 degree programs, according to The Telegraph. These include English literature and translation, hotel management, archaeology, nuclear physics, computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering and business management.
Iran's Islamist clerics don't like the trend of women getting more educated, seeking to establish identities of their own, and becoming less willing to submit to a life in which their only acceptable role is to marry and raise children and stay quiet.
One interesting note is that both the Oil Industry University and Isfahan University (which offers a mining degree) announced that they would exclude women because so few of them could find jobs in those fields.
By the same token, should Baptist divinity schools stop admitting female students, since so few Baptist churches are willing to call them as pastors? A recent article from Associated Baptist Press revealed that seven percent of CBF churches are now led by women. That's a surprising increase and more than many people would think, but still a tiny fraction when set against all Baptist churches. It remains exceedingly difficult to persuade many churches to even consider a woman as a candidate for pastor.
Should we throw in the towel and refuse to admit women, since few churches will call them? Should we deny female students the chance to learn and grow and answer what they believe to be God's calling on their lives because job opportunities are few -- or because educated women could threaten a male-dominated system?
Some questions don't deserve an answer ... but the women of Iran deserve our prayers.