A PROFESSOR AT VUT ADVOCATES FOR GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
By: Qhawekazi Memani – 03 August 2023
“In recent years, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) has taken significant strides towards achieving gender equality and empowering women,” these are the sentiments shared by an Associate Professor from the Faculty of Management Sciences, Elizabeth Chinomona.
Prof Chinomona reckons that commitment to these issues has contributed to the notable changes on campus, fostering a more inclusive and diverse environment. She highlights that five years ago, there were barely any women in leadership positions. Today, VUT boasts a female Deputy Vice-Chancellor, an Executive Dean of one of the University’s biggest faculties, and several Heads of Departments (HOD’s), showing a significant shift in the institution’s gender dynamics.
To address societal challenges and empower women, she emphasizes the importance of uplifting the girl child. Appreciating the existing initiatives that instil confidence and self-reliance in young women from an early age, Prof says: “By teaching girl children to be independent and self-supporting, these initiatives break away from traditional gender roles that perpetuate dependency on men.”
Prof Chinomona firmly believes that economic empowerment plays a crucial role in achieving gender equality. At VUT, she advocates for women to attend entrepreneurship courses offered by the Logistics and Supply Chain department. Additionally, for students to join the Enactus VUT team which provides a platform for all students to hone their entrepreneurial skills and build a foundation for economic independence.
On the socio-economic aspect, Prof Chinomona shed the light on a concerning phenomenon, where women globally contribute to their own oppression through gossip and lack of support for one another. She urges that women ought to stand united, promote a culture of solidarity, and refraining from voting against their own gender in leadership positions. “By cultivating support and understanding across diverse backgrounds, women can collectively overcome socio-economic challenges.”
On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the vulnerabilities faced by women in various aspects of life. Prof Chinomona emphasizes the importance of continuous learning, adaptability, and resilience for women to participate actively in post-pandemic society. “This can be achieved through learning new skills, being flexible, and embracing change are essential attributes for women to thrive both personally and professionally, whether at home or in the workplace,” she said.
While policy frameworks are vital for promoting gender equality and women’s rights, their effectiveness lies in proper implementation – she stresses the role of policymakers in ensuring that these policies are practiced. She adds: “Mere documentation without practical application renders policies meaningless, hampering progress in achieving true gender equality.”
Prof Chinomona’s vision paves the way for a brighter, more equitable future for women at VUT and beyond. “Let’s embrace a culture of support and resilience, women can stand stronger together and build a more inclusive and resilient world for all,” she concluded.
Prof Chinomona has published more than 100 articles in accredited Journals, supervised both Masters and PHD students up to graduation level. She has also attended both local and internal conferences and won various Excellence Research Awards here at VUT.