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

OSM Camerata first place winner in international competition
2017-09-08

Description: Camerata Tags: OSM Camerata, Ictus International Music Competition, Marius Coetzee, Odeion School of Music 

The OSM Camerata with conductors, Xavier Cloete and
Gerhard de Jager received first place in the
University/Conservatory Orchestra category.
Photo: Supplied



The OSM Camerata received first place in the 2017 Ictus International Music Competition for bands and orchestras. Marius Coetzee from the Odeion School of Music at the University of the Free State said: “The award was announced in time for the celebration of the orchestra’s fifth birthday.”

OSM a catalyst for excellence
The OSMC was strategically founded in 2012 by Coetzee as the OSM’s flagship chamber ensemble, with the main objective of creating a catalyst for excellence.

Over the past five years, the OSMC has premiered 15 new works by South African composers specially commissioned for them. Highlights remain its participation in the 13th International Conservatory Festival in St Petersburg Russia, where the ensemble received a standing ovation during a gala concert in the Glazunov Concert Hall, as well as the world première of the Cello Concerto for an African Cellist by South African composer, Hans Huyssen, with South African cellist, Heleen du Plessis as soloist. The CD was released in 2014 on the New Zealand Classical Music label, Ode Records in Auckland, New Zealand and was one of five CDs nominated for the Listeners' Choice Award New York in March 2014.

Competition draws participation from Washington to Bloemfontein

The inaugural year of this annual competition drew applicants from Washington State in the US all the way to Bloemfontein in the Free State. Video submissions were judged and narrowed down to a final round from which prize winners were selected.

The OSM Camerata with conductors, Xavier Cloete and Gerhard De Jager, received first place in the University/Conservatory Orchestra category. 

The competition was founded to highlight the work that music educators, conductors, students, performers and community members make in ensembles at the university, community, youth, high school and middle school levels. 

Competition director, Alex Serio says that “many people do not realise the amount of work that it takes to make these ensembles run. What is more is that most of the public does not realise the level of artistic excellence that can be achieved in these ensembles. Ictus International Music Competition was founded to highlight this level

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