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Monday, 16 September 2019

Spotlight falls on gender agenda

SOCIAL CHANGE: Tamara Mathebula, Chairperson: Commission for Gender Equality, discusses the importance of gender transformation in higher education during the CPUT Gender Transformation Symposium. SOCIAL CHANGE: Tamara Mathebula, Chairperson: Commission for Gender Equality, discusses the importance of gender transformation in higher education during the CPUT Gender Transformation Symposium.

Insights into bridging the gender gap between men and women were discussed at a recent Gender Transformation Symposium held at the Granger Bay Campus.

George Mvalo, Chairperson: Universities South Africa (USAf) Transformation Managers Forum, said his forum’s priorities include bringing about Gender equality and putting an end to Gender-Based violence.

Mvalo observed that most universities were run by men and that all universities under administration were also run by men.

"We risk becoming a failed generation due to persistent structural imbalances at our universities,” he argued.

He added that the gender agenda was at the centre of transformation and called for an end to gender discrimination and marginalisation.

Prof Vivienne Taylor, a retired UK academic and Commissioner: National Planning Commission (NPC), said the brutality of violence perpetrated against women, gender pay gap and poverty were some of the challenges women have to deal with.

“Men who are supposed to protect women are the assailants,” added Taylor.

She argued that the significance of women's emancipation starts with re-organising the significance of women's roles as women cannot always wait for the government to protect their rights.

“The NPC is currently assessing progress in the implementation of the NDP, which was launched in 2012,” she revealed. “A rigorous review of the NDP is necessary.”

“We would welcome research on women's abuse by universities as a start towards women empowerment,” she said.

Yaa Ashantewa Archer- Ngidi, Social Cohesion Advocate at the Durban University of Technology, said rewriting history by correcting the lies told by previous authors is one of the mandates of the advocates.

Archer-Ngidi added that women should not accept being humiliated because that is a sign of an inferior complex.

Tamara Mathebula, Chairperson: Commission for Gender Equality, discussed the importance of gender transformation in higher education during the CPUT Gender Transformation Symposium.

Dr Nyx Mclean, a lecturer in the Faculty of Informatics and Design at CPUT, suggested actions that can be implemented to protect gender diversity among students and staff including the following:

Include a "transgender" or "other and specify" options on forms;

Include preferred name and option to change gender identity on university software systems;

Ruling out binary coded language such as "ladies and gentlemen" even on emails and;

Building gender-neutral bathrooms in addition to the ladies and gentlemen’s ones.

Written by Kwanele Butana

Email: butanak@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Business and Management Sciences and Education Faculties, Student Affairs Department and Cape Town and Mowbray Campuses.