International Women’s Day: Message from the Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Posted on March 06, 2020

International Women’s Day (8 March) recognises the struggle for equal rights for women worldwide, and also celebrates the numerous achievements made by women as the global struggle continues.

This year, the theme is ‘An equal world is an enabled world’. The commemoration of this day pushes each of us to ask how we will forge a gender-equal world, celebrate women’s achievements, and raise awareness against bias.

At UP, we’re answering these questions through our #SpeakOut campaign against gender-based violence and harassment, our new anti-discrimination policy, and our newly instituted Transformation Office, which will assist with creating a transformed, equal and equitable University community.

We are committed to providing a non-sexist and non-discriminatory working, living and study environment for staff and students; one in which every person is able to achieve their full potential. Ten training sessions are available throughout the year to educate ourselves on gender-based violence and how it manifests itself, how to protect oneself, and how to avoid being a perpetrator. Staff are encouraged to participate by registering on the staff portal. These training sessions are brought to you by the Transformation Office and UP’s Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G).

I strongly urge all staff to read the new anti-discrimination policy (available on the intranet) and to be cognisant of our behaviour towards everyone.

Fairness, justice, equality and striving for equity are hallmarks of how we live THE UP WAY.

I am proud that since this day was officially recognised by the United Nations in 1977, UP has stood tall in recognising the achievement and potential of women. The majority of our students are women, and we are producing a high calibre of graduates who are excelling in the world beyond university. Although we are intensifying our progress by diversifying and enabling women academic staff, the process of promoting and moving to higher ranks has been slow. However, we are crafting plans to quicken the pace of this progress. In this way we are transforming society and breaking down stereotypical and patriarchal thoughts, ideas, systems and practices of and against women.

South Africa dedicates the month of August to women, but let us spare a moment today to think of the achievements and strides which women have made globally in overcoming systemic barriers to their progress and success, while continuing to flourish in all that they do.


Prof Tawana Kupe

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

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