Leaders tackle violence in public universities
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Leaders tackle violence in public universities

Ms Salamina Hlahane, the first black nursing director in Sedibeng District

Students and staff that attended the event

Thabiso Sechele

Women in leadership positions wrapped up Women’s Month with a meaningful event at VUT on 31 August.

The University’s Social Justice and Transformation Unit invited women to talks around the violence and inequality that often occurs in public universities. The theme was: “Manifestation of typology of violence within public universities” and successful women in health and security were asked to speak on the topic and related issues.

“We thought people who were experiencing violence were the uneducated ones, but that is not the case. Hence this event,” said the programme director; Ms Onica Matsheke.

In her motivational talk, Ms Grace Mogorosi-Tete the guest speaker; mentioned that people do not understand what women want, that is why there is inequality and not enough transformation. Ms Mogorosi-Tete cited the fact that only 28% of decision-making positions are occupied by women, she said women in universities want educational opportunities, pay parity, partners sharing family responsibilities, walk freely on the streets without being objectified, the right to decide when it’s time to bear children and to have self-worth in the same way as men do. She decried what she called the disgusting display of toxic masculinity during women’s month also mirrored by school boys. She cautioned against women in top positions toeing the patriarchal line – by kicking the ladder so that other women don’t come up – and holding back feminism. Ms Mogorosi-Tete reminded the audience that women have always been leaders since time immemorial, for example Queen Nandi (King Shaka’s mother) and Queen Manthatisi of Batlokwa.

SAPS personnel were also there to remind women of their rights. They said that a missing person can now be reported immediately (there is no longer a 24-hour waiting period) as they have realised an increase in violence in society. They also shared their personal stories of women in leadership.

Ms Salamina Hlahane, the first black nursing director in Sedibeng District, shared her experience in leadership as well: “Women in higher positions are not given enough support,” she said. Speaking to the students, she said “let’s allow young girls to dream, guide them properly in their dreams, don’t look for the Knight but the sword.”

She did, however, ask everyone to remember that young men also need support: “Let’s remember to support men as well because we are all equal and all have feelings.”

In more uplifting news, Mr George Mvalo, from Social Justice and Transformation, shared with the audience that money is available to VUT staff to further their studies and women are leading in this regard, VUT sends 10 women every year to attend the HERS-SA Academy in Cape Town and recently 65% of the participants in the Future Leadership Programme are women. These initiatives are geared at ensuring gender transformation in leadership positions. The event is part of Universities South Africa’s (USAf) national common campaign day.

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