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Monday, 20 August 2018

Young Women Empowerment Conference attracts hundreds

SUPPORT: Speakers at the Young Women Empowerment Conference signed the banner denoting CPUT’s new Institutional Gender-Based Violence Position Statement. SUPPORT: Speakers at the Young Women Empowerment Conference signed the banner denoting CPUT’s new Institutional Gender-Based Violence Position Statement.

This past weekend CPUT hosted a successful Young Women Empowerment Conference.

Close to two hundred of female students from Western Cape higher education institutions descended on Bellville campus for a two day conference focused on issues facing them. The programme included speakers talking about dealing with the challenges of HIV/Aids and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) as well as workshops on everything from digital storytelling to leadership lessons and personal development tips.

Minister of Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini’s keynote address on the first day urged the young students to respect themselves and not buy into the patriarchal idea that men are better.

“Women have capacity and ability. When we are given responsibility we perform but we don’t bully our way through, we impart knowledge. You have heard the saying ‘teach a woman, you teach the nation’,” Dlamini reminded the students.

She encouraged them to be more vocal in ensuring older people in power better understand the challenges faced by students in tertiary education as contemporary problems are very different to what she faced as a young woman.

“It is for students to create support structures and make sure society understands how it impacts on your life. As a tertiary institution you need to come up with new ideas for dealing proactively with the issue of violence against women and children,” said Dlamini.

Dlamini and Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia, CEO of Higher Education and Training Health Wellness & Development Centre (HEAIDS), commended CPUT on launching its own Institutional Gender-Based Violence Position Statement.

Ahluwalia pointed out that a policy for all higher education institutions on how to deal with gender-based violence is currently awaiting approval from Cabinet. This policy includes details on disciplinary tribunals for offenders and the need to be more victim centric in all approaches.

“We need to build an army to deal with gender-based violence on campuses in the same way we built the peer to peer educators to deal with HIV infections.

“The way you come out for early testing for HIV we need you to report incidents of GBV on campuses,” said Ahluwalia.

Written by Theresa Smith

Email: smitht@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Applied Sciences and Engineering Faculties and the Wellington Campus.