This month we celebrate all the achievements of all women staff and students who contribute to THE UP WAY and vision. These women’s positive contribution to our society, through pursuing excellence in teaching, research and innovation, is instrumental to UP’s relevance and transformational impact on society.
Women’s Day in South Africa marks the occasion when some 20 000 women marched against the apartheid regime’s the pass laws. Every year on this day we reflect on how far South Africa has come in terms of promoting women’s rights, achieving equality and universal access to education; and acknowledge the heroic women of 1956 who stood up for their rights. The courage of these great women laid the foundation for women, irrespective of race and class, to take up leadership roles in business, government and society.
The University of Pretoria has a staff cohort that is nearly 60% women and a student community whose majority is women. It is gratifying to note that 60% of the women who are part of UP’s staff are black.
This speaks volumes about the impact that UP is having on changing lives, perceptions and transforming society as women play a pivotal role in families, communities and in the workplace.
South Africa has moved on from overtly discriminatory laws against women such as the pass laws, but in a deeply unequal and patriarchal society such as ours much can still be done to improve the education and economic opportunities of women.
This is why broadening access for women across the board has become increasingly important to us at UP. We hope to continue attracting the best women academics, staff and students from across South Africa, the continent and the world in order to positively influence the future, achieve equity and equality and boost creative innovation.
Prof Tawana Kupe
Vice-Chancellor and Principal.