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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

Societal perceptions of women in politics in Cameroon must change
2017-08-30

 Description: Prof Atanga readmore Tags: Prof Lilian Atanga, University of Bamenda, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Africa Studies, political participation of women 

Prof Lilian Lem Atanga presented a lecture,
Gender, Discourse and Cognition and Implications on
Political Participation, 
as part of the First Humanities
and Gendered Worlds Lecture 2017.
Photo: Charl Devenish


Women have not internalised the fact that they can participate on an equal footing in politics with men. This is one of the conclusions made by Prof Lilian Lem Atanga in a study of the political participation of women in Cameroon.
“There still is a strong belief that women can’t deliver the goods (in areas such as politics),” Prof Atanga said. According to her, stereotypes were still entrenched in Africa and a lot had to be done to change societal perceptions of the role of women in politics.

Poor representation of women in politics
Prof Atanga, an associate professor at the University of Bamenda in Cameroon, was guest speaker at the First Humanities and Gendered Worlds Lecture 2017. The lecture was hosted by the Faculty of Humanities and the Centre for Africa Studies (CAS) at the University of the Free State (UFS) in the Equitas Auditorium, Bloemfontein Campus, on 3 August 2017. The title of the research fellow’s lecture at the CAS lecture was Gender, Discourse and Cognition and Implications on Political Participation.
She noted that although there had been a marked increase in the political participation of women in Cameroon, it still was insufficient. Of the 24 million people in the country, 52% were women but only 20% of the senators and 31% of parliamentarians were women. 

Gender-segregated roles affect participation 
And there are many reasons for this. “A lot more women still believe in gender-segregated roles and this affects their political participation.” Many men also don’t approve of women’s political participation.
In her study Prof Atanga found that stereotypes were also emphasised in the way the media in Cameroon reported on the roles of women. 

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