27 August 2021 | Story Dr Nitha Ramnath | Photo Supplied
Prof Brownhilder Neneh.

Prof Brownhilder Neneh is Associate Professor and Head of Department in the Department of Business Management. A mum of two beautiful daughters, Prof Neneh believes that we all need to start somewhere, and none of us achieve anything without help along the way. By practising intentional listening at work, Prof Neneh always ensures that she is available to students and staff who need her by making concerted enquiries about their questions, directing concerns and questions to the relevant areas, providing feedback, and being part of finding a solution to the problem.

Is there a woman who inspires you and who you would like to celebrate this Women’s Month, and why?
 “Starting often requires someone to give us an opportunity to prove ourselves and our worth,” says Prof Neneh. For this Women’s Month, Prof Neneh has chosen to celebrate Ronell Jordan. “She is a mother to me and many other colleagues within our department. Tannie Ronell gave many of us our first jobs as student assistants and also created a home within the department,” says Prof Neneh. “I choose to celebrate tannie Ronell for giving people opportunities. Another thing that stands out for me is the empathetic nature that she brings to the workplace – she has inspired me to lead with empathy.” 

What do you believe are some of the major challenges facing women?
There are many challenges that women face. Different women face different types of challenges, based on the context within which they are confined. Within my context, I believe women face the following challenges:
• Unfair treatment and discrimination in the workplace
• Work-family conflict
• Gender-prescribed barriers 
• Gender pay gap
• Violence against women
• Pull-down syndrome from other women

Is there any suggestion/recommendation you have on how we can respond to addressing the challenges?
Unfair treatment and discrimination in the workplace – Always try to bring your A game to work, be fair and consistent with the decisions you make, pick your battles wisely, and always remember that you can’t win every battle, even if you are right. Above all, someone above is always fighting for you. Organisational policies should also be put in place to eliminate discrimination.

Work-family conflict – Understand your context and identify the different resources you have at your disposal and make use of them. Always remember that it’s okay if you don’t get all your tasks done. 
Gender pay gap – Organisational policies must be put in place to eliminate the gender pay gap.
Violence against women – Your life matters, so speak up and seek help as soon as possible.
Pull-down syndrome from other women – Understand that we are more powerful in unity.

What advice would you give to the 15-year-old you?

• This is the era of possibilities; you can do it.
• You are not defined by your mistakes, so do not be too hard on yourself.
• Believe in yourself and do not give up on yourself.
• Only you can write and rewrite your story of how you want to be known and remembered.
• It is the small and consistent habits – what you do and how you do it, what you read, what you watch, who you have access to – that will change your life and story.

What would you say makes you a woman of quality, impact, and care [of the UFS]?

It is about performing the strategic goals of the university, faculty, and department efficiently and effectively. 

Everyone can be a leader, but what makes me a leader with impact is the difference I make in the lives of the people around me – making a difference by giving them opportunities to learn, flourish and grow, giving them a second chance, encouraging them with my words, helping people identify and realise their potential, and to be their cheerleader from the back.

Putting aside my own interest and showing the people I lead and serve that they matter, and that their opinions matter.  Showing them that I care about the things that matter to them, even if I might not be able to address all of their needs/concerns. 

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.