Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Previous Archive
08 April 2021 | Story Nonsindiso Qwabe | Photo Sonia SMall

How has COVID-19 further widened the gender inequality gap in the workplace?

This was the central question addressed during the first instalment of a webinar series on Gender and Social Justice hosted by the Unit for Institutional Change and Social Justice at the University of the Free State (UFS). The webinar, which was hosted on the UFS Qwaqwa Campus on 29 March 2021, featured Prof Pearl Sithole, Qwaqwa Campus Vice-Principal: Academic and Research; Advocate Nthabiseng Sepanya-Mogale, Commissioner at the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE); and Tholo Motaung, skills trainer, moderator, and gender activist at the Vaal University of Technology as panellists. 

Prof Sithole said COVID-19 revealed the disparity that still exists between men and women in the workplace. “COVID-19 has been the magnifier. We’ve modernised quite a lot, but we’re still unequal in terms of gender. Why are we not progressing in terms of women moving forward towards equality when there has been so much progressive thinking in the political space, social justice space, as well as in the kind of feminism we have had in academia? Why are we actually not winning the battle of just regarding each other as equals?” 

Women hardest hit by COVID-19 lockdown

Advocate Sepanya-Mogale said the lockdown revealed the gender gap mostly through the significant impact it has had on South African women.

In 2020, 34% of the country’s workforce comprised women – a sharp decline of 9,8% from 43,8% in 2018.
“This decline is alarming and a clear indication of who becomes the first victims, but that is hardly talked about. A lot of women have experienced resistance from industries they had been serving diligently,” she said. She said women were often faced with the burden of integrating their work with increased care responsibilities for their children and sometimes also the elderly as primary caregivers. The double responsibility placed on women continues to re-enforce gender roles in our societies and further pushes away the success of closing the gap on gender equality prospects in our society.

Advocate Sepanya-Mogale said women were the hardest hit in most industries. In the beauty and tourism industry; air transportation; informal trading; and healthcare sector to name a few, women bore the brunt the most. “Women are the biggest employees on all economic levels in South Africa, especially the low-income and unskilled levels,” she said.
She said as the spread of the virus was likely to continue disrupting economic activity, all sectors of society needed to get involved and play their part.

“As disease outbreaks are not likely to disappear in the near future, proactive international action is required to not only save lives but to also protect economic prosperity. Academic institutions are authorities in terms of opening up new discussions, leading new debates, and putting critical issues at the centre of the table. Let us all do what we can so that we empower our people relevantly for the times we’re living in.”

News Archive

UFS responds to revocation of the accreditation of the SA Doping Control Laboratory by WADA
2017-07-01

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) yesterday informed the South African Doping Control Laboratory (SADoCoL) at the University of the Free State (UFS) that the WADA accreditation status of the laboratory has been revoked.

This revocation does, however, not include the analysis of blood samples for the Athlete Biological Passport for which SADoCoL has been re-accredited in August 2016 and which the laboratory will continue to perform. It also does not impact at all on the testing of urine sport samples by the South African Institute of Drug-free Sport (SAIDS), who will continue to send such samples for testing to other WADA accredited laboratories, while blood samples will be tested at SADoCoL as before.

The revocation follows a year long period of suspension in which the laboratory had to develop its analytical capabilities and instate new systems and methodologies.  “In this period the laboratory worked diligently to realize all of these requirements and according to an inspection team from the WADA Laboratory Expert Group who visited the laboratory in February 2017, much has been done and the Laboratory is in a much better state than it was before the suspension in May 2016,” says prof Marthinus van der Merwe, Director of SADoCoL.

“However, there were certain aspects of these requirements that the laboratory could not achieve within the time-frame stipulated by WADA and therefore the organisation is bound by its rules and regulations to now revoke the accreditation status of the laboratory. Since much effort and resources have been invested in the laboratory in the last two years, the management of SADoCoL together with senior leadership of the UFS decided to go ahead and finalise all development in order to re-apply for WADA accreditation,” says prof van der Merwe. 

“The UFS fully acknowledges the hard work of SADoCoL during the period of development and is committed to support the laboratory in its endeavors to re-attain its status within the very specialised and highly regulated community of world-wide doping control laboratories.  The premium goal of the laboratory is still to fully serve the sporting community of South Africa and Africa according to the WADA guidelines for anti-doping control in Sport and it is confident to attain that with the support of all role players in this field,” says Prof Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research at the UFS.

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

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.

Accept