Address of the Patron of the TMF, Thabo Mbeki: Gender Mainstreaming, University of Venda, August 10, 2015.

 

Programme Director,

Vice Chancellor, Prof Peter Mbati,

Honourable Executive Mayor, Cllr Mahosi,

Our traditional leaders,

Staff and students of the University of Venda,

Distinguished Symposium participants:

I would like to thank you very much for your invitation and congratulate the University for taking the decision to address the important and challenging issue of gender mainstreaming.

The topic I have been asked to address is “2015 Symposium on gender mainstreaming and representation at the work place: How far have Universities come after 21 years of democracy?”

I must confess that it is likely that I will disappoint you because it will not be possible for me to address this topic as well as I should. This is because frankly I have not had the time to examine what each of our universities has done on the matter of gender mainstreaming. Nevertheless, though I feel that I am not quite qualified to speak on the matter, I will say something about our universities, however limited.

We are meeting here during Women’s Month. Because of the importance of both this Month and the issue of gender mainstreaming I decided to address the topic you have given me in broader terms relating to the issue of the emancipation of women.

I am certain that all of us here are of one mind about the vital importance of the issues of women’s emancipation and gender equality. Accordingly there is no need for us to debate the matter of the importance of these issues.

I am sure that part of what needs to identify our democracy is exactly this.  In any case, we have as part of the national contract amongst ourselves our National Constitution. This National Constitution as you know says very specifically that part of what we should create is a non-sexist South Africa and that is agreed. This objective is binding on all South Africans and of course, on all political parties in our country.

And that objective is contained in various pieces of legislation in our country which Parliament has approved – this particular matter of ensuring gender equality and therefore the emancipation of women.

That objective is also contained in various international Conventions to which we have acceded and therefore, as I am saying, I think that we are all agreed about this matter of gender equality and women’s emancipation. Not only are we agreed on this but we are also bound by the Constitution and various laws that have been approved by our Parliament.

So I think it is very proper indeed that the University of Venda should focus on this matter of gender mainstreaming during this month – Women’s Month – and to see what we can do about it.

When I looked at your website, Vice Chancellor, it said “2015 Symposium on Gender Mainstreaming and Representation in the Workplace – How far have universities come after 21 years of democracy?”

As I have said, I am terribly sorry that I am going to disappoint you on this because I cannot answer this question – How far have universities come after 21 years of democracy?  And the reason I cannot is because it demands too much work.  You have to go into all these universities to see what they have done, including this university.  I did not have time to do this.  But I will come back to the matter of our universities and despite what I have just said, what I will say will not be a complete picture but may be enough to tell us what the challenges would be.

Apart from what I have said, for those of us who come from the liberation struggle, there are old positions concerning this matter.

For instance, as long ago as 1984, when he delivered the January 8th Statement on behalf of the NEC of the ANC, the former President of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, said:

“Our struggle will be less than powerful and our national and social emancipation can never be complete if we continue to treat the women of our country as dependent minors and objects of one form of exploitation or another. Certainly no longer should it be that a woman`s place is in the kitchen. In our beleaguered country, the woman`s place is in the battlefront of struggle.”

That was in 1984.

I think that the same sentiment persists today. It has only changed to accommodate the different forms of struggle we wage today. Nevertheless the concept of the centrality of women is applicable even today, and women are neither dependent minors nor should they be objects of exploitation of one form or another. This remains at the core of our thinking as a people.

And I am sure that as all of us listened to President Zuma speaking yesterday in Sasolburg on Women’s Day. He spoke, quite correctly, about the achievements the country has made on this issue of women in the last 21 years and said that:

“While counting achievements (relating to women’s empowerment) we also emphasise that the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality remains and women bear the brunt.”

And President Zuma was correct. So the matter of the emancipation of women is therefore necessary to deal with the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

We know very well that we are talking about the majority of the population of South Africa when we talk about women.  It follows logically that a democracy such as ours must address these matters. To say that it is responding to the interests of the majority of our people, it must respond to the interests, concerns, demands and aspirations of the women of South Africa.

The 2011 Census indeed gives the figures that indicate that there are more women than men in our country. We had 25,2 million males compared to 26,6 million females. For the majority which Statistics South Africa categorises as “black Africans”, the respective figures were 19,9 million and 21,1 million.

Obviously what this means is that we cannot say we are making progress with regard, for instance, to the objectives stated in our Constitution unless that progress includes the ills affecting women which were mentioned by President Zuma, namely poverty, unemployment and inequality.

The question that is being raised at this Symposium is this matter about gender mainstreaming.

This gender mainstreaming is not an end in itself. Rather it is an indispensable instrument without which it would be very difficult to achieve the objectives of women’s empowerment and emancipation and gender equality.

It is therefore vitally important that we truly understand its meaning. It was exactly because of its effectiveness as an instrument to realise these objectives that earlier I congratulated this University for convening the Gender Mainstreaming Symposium to ensure that this gender mainstreaming actually takes place at the University of Venda.

To make certain that all of us understand the very meaning of the phrase, gender mainstreaming, I thought that this afternoon I should present some definitions of this mainstreaming given the vital transformation role it would play if properly applied on a sustained basis.

Now, Vice Chancellor, I am going to read three definitions of gender mainstreaming.  I am doing this because it is necessary to know what it is that one must do when taking on this challenge of gender mainstreaming.

A Business Manual prepared by Business Engage Association NPC says:

‘‘Gender Mainstreaming’’ means the process of identifying gender gaps and making women’s, men’s, girls’ and boys’ concerns and experiences integral to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies, legislation and programmes in all sectors of life to ensure that they benefit equally.”

For its part Wikipedia says:

Mainstreaming a gender perspective is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality.”

The last one, and I must mention this Vice Chancellor, comes from what I thought was a very important report on the issue of gender mainstreaming at Universities. This report was commissioned by the European Union and was published in 2001 but I think that what it said about European Universities is equally applicable to our own Universities here.

It was in June 2001 that Ils Stevens and Ilse Van Lamoen, (supported by EU), published this Report entitled “Manual on Gender Mainstreaming at Universities ‘Equal Opportunities at Universities. Towards a Gender Mainstreaming Approach’.

It says: “Rather than seeking to fit women into the systems and structures as they are, gender mainstreaming pursues a reorganisation of universities in such a way that the demands and expectations of women and men are heard and respected equally. This involves more than eliminating discriminatory elements from existing structures, procedures and customs. In mainstreaming, the transformation of institutions becomes the agenda. Gender mainstreaming pursues a situation in which all policies are informed by knowledge of the diverse needs and perspectives of their beneficiaries, either male or female.”

I think each of these three definitions indicates the complexity of this question. The definitions insist that we must attach consideration of the impact on the gender question to any and all processes of policy formulation, programme elaboration and implementation which we undertake. This means that we should not accept any argument, including at this University that things should not change based merely on the argument – this is how we have always done things!

And Vice Chancellor, I think you referred to this yourself, that with regard to universities and I think this might refer to other institutions as well, that in the end, the transformation of institutions becomes the agenda.

Thus the goal of achieving gender equality is so central that it might even be necessary that institutions must change in order to give expression to this.

Therefore we should not be faced with the situation where somebody says this institution has established processes and practices it has relied on for the last 10 years, and therefore why should we change!  We may have to change precisely to address the central question of achieving gender equality.  This is the challenge.

Having understood the meaning of gender mainstreaming, we still have to answer the question – what should we do practically to implement this mainstreaming? In this regard I found the University Manual very useful.

Let me therefore come back to this Manual which was prepared for the European Union. It talks about four Principles of Gender Mainstreaming.

One of these principles is: (i) regarding individuals as whole persons.  I will come back to this.

(ii) number two is: a commitment to democracy;

(iii) number three is: a drive for social justice; and,

(iv) number four is: dignity and respect for diversity.

And these four principles are fundamental to the goal of achieving gender mainstreaming.

Now let me just say one thing about this issue ‘regarding individuals as whole persons’ – again I think that the Vice Chancellor referred to this in part – and quote what the authors of the Manual say:

“Treating employees as whole persons implies taking into account (various) aspects in their labour conditions. This can be achieved by facilities like work-life balancing measures – flexible working hours, part-time arrangements, child care facilities, parental and compassionate leave – and offering time, room and space for lifelong learning.”

We must understand why they say this in ‘regarding individuals as whole persons’. The whole person is not just the lecturer. The whole person also has children and therefore must accordingly be treated as a whole person.

This matter is discussed in another report – the Higher Education South Africa (HESA) report. This Report was issued earlier this year and looked at the remuneration of the teaching staff at Universities.

The Report raised a question about what happens to female teachers and lecturers from around the age of 30 onwards.  It says that what is happening is that female lecturers lose chances for promotion and increases in income because of the failure to treat them as whole persons. They are just seen as lecturers or teachers.

Then again, the European University Manual raises issues that have to do with implementation and says that gender mainstreaming can be introduced through what they describe as four toolkits or sets of instruments:

(a) one of them is measurement and monitoring, obviously;

(b) the second one is implementation and organisation;

(c) the third one is building awareness and ownership, and;

(d) the fourth one is something called “gender proofing and evaluation.”

With regard to the issue of measurement and monitoring, the Manual says:

“Systematic collection and dissemination of data on the position and opportunities of women and men is indispensable to assess which areas most urgently need to be addressed and check the impact of policies and measures that have been implemented… To prevent discouragement and apathy, even small successes need to be acknowledged by stressing the notion that gender mainstreaming derives its power from a cumulation of small results.”

On the issue of gender proofing, the Manual says:

“The process of gender mainstreaming is not based on empirical data alone. Measurement is very useful to indicate the existence of inequalities between the sexes, such as disparities in access and representation… Gender proofing tools are designed to trace the causes of existing gender biases, and provide guidelines for changing structures and procedures, aiming at promoting gender diversity…We must question why gender imbalance exists to be able to identify the basis of what causes this disparity.  This kind of work must be done.”

On the matter of implementation and organisation, it says:

“At all levels of the organisation, persons have to be assigned who are officially responsible and accountable for gender mainstreaming: people who initiate, implement, and co-ordinate the process. Preferably, these are academic leaders and managers, who are in a position to influence policy practices and decisions. Gender mainstreaming strategies will not be effective as long as they are simply ‘added’ to the portfolio of individual managers and policy makers. Specific training and sufficient financial means are required.”

Vice Chancellor, this is very important because it says that as the University of Venda takes on this task of gender mainstreaming, it has to prepare particular people to implement this. Merely to say to the Registrar or the Dean: “just add this thing to your tasks” is not correct.  If you do that this is not going to work.

So Vice Chancellor, I think you can see that the implications of the gender mainstreaming are, among others, the increase of staff to have people to specialise and be able to take care of this task alone.  And of course, there will therefore be the issue of additional funds to provide the necessary salaries.

On the matter of building awareness and ownership, it says:

“Gender mainstreaming implies a paradigm shift in thinking of all actors involved in policy making, especially of academic leaders and managers who are officially assigned to initiate and co-ordinate the process. This requires training to reach a certain degree of gender awareness and gender expertise.”

Specialisation is required and therefore people need to be trained so that you should not just believe me when I say: “I am gender sensitive.” One must then be able to say what needs to be done, indicating what gender sensitivity and training in gender awareness mean. I think this is very important.

I think the meeting might be interested in what our National Development Plan says about this. It says institutions dedicated to promoting gender equity have not been functioning optimally. It says in speaking about South Africa that the mandate of the Commission of Gender Equality overlaps with that of the Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities. It says for example:

“The institutions dedicated to promoting gender equity have not been functioning optimally. The mandate of the Commission of Gender Equality overlaps with that of the Ministry of Women, People with Disabilities and Children. For example, the monitoring and evaluation function is both the mandate of the ministry and the statutory mandate of the Commission on Gender Equality. This results in role confusion and political conflicts over authority. The National Gender Policy does not set clear priorities and targets from which a programme of action could be developed. The gender mainstreaming approach is proving too difficult to put into operation, because it demands a high level of gender expertise and high-level political commitment.”

I think that we should underline the observation – “The gender mainstreaming approach is proving difficult to put into operation.”

This is a very serious statement in my view, that the gender mainstreaming approach is proving too difficult to put into practice because it demands a high level of gender expertise and a high level of political will.  This is the assessment of the National Planning Commission – that the mainstreaming of gender equality is proving too difficult to operationalise.

The implication of this is that we may abandon this gender mainstreaming and if we abandon it, we turn our backs on a very central objective of our Constitution and our transformation agenda – because it is too difficult to implement!

And they say, I think quite correctly, that in our case, what made it difficult to implement gender mainstreaming is that we did not ensure the training and preparation of people with a high level of gender expertise and a high level of commitment.  In the absence of this, there would be no gender mainstreaming.

I am saying they are correct because in our own experience in government I do not remember that we attended to this matter of the pursuit of the objective of gender equality in a manner that is proposed here in terms of gender mainstreaming – with the attention to detail, that, for instance, each time a piece of legislation came before Cabinet we asked what the implications were for gender mainstreaming.  I do not think that we ever did that.

I think the National Planning Commission is correct in saying that the gender mainstreaming task proved too difficult to put into operation because we did not do the things that must be done to ensure successful gender mainstreaming.

I think that the facts with regard to gender inequality in our country are very well known. There is a lot of statistical information from Statistics South Africa covering such matters as gender based socio-economic poverty, etc. However, I think the problem we face is that even as we have all this information before us, we do not consistently pose the question – what challenge does this information present us in terms of our national tasks?

Take for instance, the matter of household income by sex of household heads, i.e. male and female headed households. Looking at the 2011 statistics, the household income of female headed households is less than half the income of male headed households.

Now, if you look at expenditure, it is a similar thing. These gaps are wide.  Now when you compare the 2005/6 Household Survey with the 2010/11 Household Survey and see what has happened with  income and expenditure, both have increased but the rate of increase for male headed households is higher than for female headed households. This means that the disparity between women and men is increasing.

Statistics South Africa (Stassa) says 39,4% of our households are female headed. The figure for black African households is 42,9% and for White households the figure is 24,0%.

These female headed black African households in the urban formal areas of residence amount to 34,3%, while they increase to 53,5% in the traditional areas.

During the period 2010/11, Household income by sex of household head was:

Male:     R151 186

Female:   R70 830

The increase compared to 2005/6 was: Male: 18,2% and    Female: 13,5%.

During the same period, 2010/11, Household consumption expenditure by sex of household head was:

Male:       R115 890

Female:     R63 307

The increase compared to 2005/6 was: Male: 27,1% and Female: 18.9%.

Statssa reported Household poverty incidence by gender as follows:

Male headed:        25,7%

Female headed:    43,9%

Again Statssa says that Household size by gender was:

Urban formal:      Male: 3,44 and Female – 3,64.

Traditional area:  Male: 4,43 and Female – 4,99.

I am therefore saying that in the context of the gender mainstreaming issue – not just looking at universities – what then do you do to respond to this information, given that our objective is gender equality?

We have to ask the question, why do male and female headed households have different incomes and expenditures, and what do we do about it, given also the increasing disparity? What must be done by whom? What targets must be set, taking into account the task to eradicate the gender based socio-economic inequalities?

As we would expect, the information relating to the labour market confirms the same picture – that of the lower status of women. Accordingly similar questions can be posed within the same context of gender mainstreaming.

Reporting on the labour market as it was in 2011, Stassa said:

The unemployed according to the expanded unemployment rate were:

Male:      34,2%.

Female:  46,0%.

With the black African figures being:

Male:     39,8%.

Female:  52,9%.

With regard to the matter of labour absorption, the numbers were:

Black African:

Male:      40,8%.

Female:  28,8%.

White:

Male:       75,7%.

Female:   62,5%.

Total:

Male:      46,0%.

Female:  33,6%.

Of those who were employed during Quarter 3, 2014, Statssa reported that:

Women white skilled:   62,0%      Low skilled:   1,5%

Women African skilled: 19,3%      Low skilled:  42,0%

Men white skilled:         64,9%     Low skilled:    5,2%

Men African skilled:       16,4%     Low skilled:   26,0%

Interestingly, with regard to education, we have a situation which starts off with the girl child not doing as well as the boy child when they begin school. But at the time of matriculation, there are more girls in Matric than young men. What this tells us is that the girl child has more staying power than the boy child, which is why the former start off at school as a minority and conclude as the majority.

This suggests that the Ministry of Education should then say that in terms of building the skills and capacity the country needs, let us pay particular attention to the girl child.

With regard to the matter of the educational standards of those 20 years and older in 2011, Statssa says:

Those with no schooling were:

Male:       1,05 million.

Female:   1,6  million.

Those who had completed Grade 12 were:

Male:      4,3  million.

Female:   4,6 million.

Those who had higher qualifications were:

Male:      1,7  million.

Female:  1,9  million.

Concerning the field of education for those who were 20 and older in 2011, Statssa reported in the manner below, which indicates that a greater effort should be made that many more females study mathematics which is required for such subjects as engineering.

Those who trained in Commerce were:

Male:      23,2%.

Female:  26.9%.

 

Education:

Male:      9,6%.

Female:  20,6%.

Engineering:

Male:      23,9%.

Female:    4,1%.

Health:

Male:       4,1%.

Female:  11,9%.

We speak very well of our delivery in terms of our achievement of the delivery of clean water and quite correctly too. But four years ago, 22% of the households in the Eastern Cape did not have access to clean water, 14% in KwaZulu Natal and 14% in Limpopo.

These are the Provinces with the highest number of people without access to clean water.  I mention this because we would all know that the matter of fetching of water and firewood is largely the work of women.  So this figure of 22% of people in the Eastern Cape without water means that we have not responded adequately to the challenge of alleviating the burden of heavy work on women because women would be the majority of those doing this work.

So in terms of the gender mainstreaming issue we would have to take a decision about what is to be done to address this issue.  So the policy must of course be to increase the number of pipes delivering the water. At the same time as we decrease the number of people who do not have access to clean water, we should try to measure the impact of this on women to increase the amount of time we give back to women, so that, for instance, they use this time to raise their levels of education.

With regard to the important matter of piped Water, Statssa reported that in 2011:

In the Eastern Cape:

22,2% of the households had no access to piped water;

for 28,4% the tap was outside yard;

for 49,4% the tap was inside yard.

The respective figures for KZN were:

No access:      14,1%.

Outside yard:  22,4%.

Inside yard:    63,6%.

For Limpopo they were:

No access:      14,0%.

Outside yard:  33,7%.

Inside yard:    52,3%.

We should also pay similar attention to the matter of health.  When we look at the last Report of Statistics South Africa on Mortality and Causes of Death, we find that there is a category described as ‘other forms of heart disease’ and find that there are more women who die of heart attacks than men. The other is ‘cerebrovascular disease’ where we see the same thing, more women dying than men.  And we see the same picture with ‘diabetes’, with 6.2% of women as opposed to just over 3.6% for men.

So we have to ask what types of gender mainstreaming interventions we can put in place to ensure that this disparity does not exist.

The Statssa 2013 Report on Mortality & Causes of Death reports the causes of death as follows:

Other forms of heart disease.

Male: 4,0%       Female:  5,2%

Cerebrovascular diseases:

Male:  4,0%       Female:  5,9%

Diabetes mellitus:

Male:  3,6%        Female:  6,2%

Hypertensive diseases:

Male:  2,7%         Female:  4,8%

In terms of our national objectives, I think that we have sufficient policy documents and laws to respond to the gender mainstreaming actions we need.

We are fortunate that we already have such legislation as the PROMOTION OF EQUALITY AND PREVENTION OF UNFAIR DISCRIMINATION ACT 4 OF 2000.” 

Among others this law says:

“Subject to section 6, no person may unfairly discriminate against any person on the ground of gender, including-

(a) gender-based violence;
(b) female genital mutilation;

 

(c) the system of preventing women from inheriting family property;
(d) any practice, including traditional, customary or religious practice, which impairs the dignity of women and undermines equality between women and men, including the undermining of the dignity and well-being of the girl child;

(e) any policy or conduct that unfairly limits access of women to land rights, finance, and other resources;

(f) discrimination on the ground of pregnancy;

 

(g) limiting women’s access to social services or benefits, such as health, education and social security;
(h) the denial of access to opportunities, including access to services or contractual opportunities for rendering services for consideration, or failing to take steps to reasonably accommodate the needs of such persons;

 

(i) systemic inequality of access to opportunities by women as a result of the sexual division of labour.”

These legal provisions strike a mighty blow against patriarchy and discriminatory traditional practices which militate against the empowerment and emancipation of women and the achievement of gender equality. They provide a legal framework which underlines and emphasises the existence of the legal space to undertake the required gender mainstreaming!

To return to the matter of the University, writing last year, the late Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Stellenbosch University, Prof Russell Botman, said:

“According to the Council on Higher Education, South Africa’s number of female students rose from 409 000 in 2006 to 543 000 in 2011. But, then again, the number of male students also went up. What about university staff and senior management? We see more or less the same thing. Yes, there are more women, but, there are also more men, so the ratio stays constant. But it is at the upper echelons where it becomes very noticeable that men are much better represented than women.

“(What about elsewhere on our continent?)…The highest proportion of women are in the lowest academic positions and the lowest occupational levels in support departments”.

A Mail & Guardian account of the HESA Report published earlier this year to which we have referred, on Remuneration of Academic Staff at South African Universities said:

“There were 2 085 professors. Only 30 were black women, 425 were white women, 208 were black men and 1 200 were white men. Of the 664 junior lecturers, the figures appear to invert. Only 164 are white women, 135 are black women, 161 are black men and 88 are white men.

“The average remuneration for a professor was R831 768 and for a junior lecturer R321 156. The lowest-earning group was black female junior lecturers: they earned R304 320 on average.”

Among others, the Report itself says:

“The remuneration-age profiles for male and female academic staff in 2012…show a widening gap between the earnings of male and female academic staff, especially from the age of about 30 years. This is a phenomenon apparently also present in the private sector. It was established by analysis that there was no direct discrimination against female academic staff in 2012 as far as remuneration is concerned. However, as a result of many possible factors, which were discussed in this report (See e.g. Section 10.3.7) female staff are under-represented in the higher academic ranks and over-represented in the lower academic ranks, resulting in lower remuneration levels.

“HE institutions should not accept the situation as outlined…(above) as a given fact of life. This issue should be studied on the institutional level, and if needed, measures should be taken to rectify this situation, or at least to reduce the gap in the remuneration-age profiles of male and female academics.”

The comments by HESA and the late Professor Botman point us in the right direction in terms of the need to act on the matter of the need for the empowerment and elevation of women academics at our Universities.

However, in an article published in the Mail & Guardian last year, Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice Chancellor of the University of Free State pointed to the challenges we face in this regard. He wrote:

“A complex of practices exclude women in favour of men, even when the latter are mediocre.

“Why are there so few senior women in the academy?…

“And still the data remains the same: women are over-represented in university lecturerships and lower levels of administration but under-represented in professorships, departmental headships and senior management positions. 

“Why? The first and simple reason is that in the male-heavy leadership of universities, women are simply not a priority. 

“It is the rare vice-chancellor who understands the representation of women in senior management as a matter of social justice. It is even more rare to find deans, heads of departments or directors of centres making a consistent, determined and unrelenting effort – for this is what it takes – to find, nurture, retain and advance women in middle and senior management leadership in higher education.

Professor Jonathan Jansen also talks about his visit to a University in the US. As he was walking down a passage and he saw marked on a door – “Lactation Room.”  He was puzzled about this Lactation Room.  He later found out that the University had arranged for mothers who were breastfeeding to have a room so that they did not have to drive home to breast-feed their children.

It constituted greater equity for the University to enable mothers to have their children at work so that they did not spend too much time between the University and home.  This is what it means to ‘regard persons as whole people’ and as a consequence of which they do not have the phenomenon of being disadvantaged by being mothers and losing salaries, opportunities for promotion, etc

I am certain that as the University of Venda you are very familiar with the book by the Brazilian, Paulo Freire, “Pedagogy of the oppressed”. Paulo Freire wrote:

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world…

“It is necessary that the weakness of the powerless is transformed into a force capable of announcing justice. For this to happen, a total denunciation of fatalism is necessary. We are transformative beings and not beings for accommodation.”

I would like to believe that this University, the University of Venda, defines itself in these terms, seeing itself as a centre of learning and research which produces men and women who deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world and ours.

It will be exactly because it defines itself in these terms that the University of Venda will have the possibility successfully to implement the gender mainstreaming in the determined and sustained manner proposed in the University Manual.

Please accept my best wishes for the success of the Gender Mainstreaming Symposium and the University of Venda itself.

Thank you.

 

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