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

Fun and camaraderie key to Vishuis rugby success
2017-09-27

Description: TEDxUFS   Tags: TEDxUFS

The forwards of Vishuis laid a strong foundation in
the K1 rugby final against Kagiso. This helped them
to secure a win of 38-16.
Photo: Marelize van Niekerk

They have not only been dominating the residence rugby scene at the University of the Free State over the past few years, but also nationally. Although they might experience added pressure as favourites, a key ingredient to Vishuis’ success story is their enjoyment of the game and their camaraderie.

According to Henco Posthumus, the Vishuis captain, they realise that it still remains residence rugby. “The guys pitch up at practice because they want to play, not because somebody begged them to.”

Comfortable triumph in final

Vishuis claimed their fifth Varsity Cup Koshuis title earlier this year, and will defend their national title after being crowned Kovsie residence champions on 8 September 2017. They beat Kagiso comfortably 38-16 in the K1 final, after leading by 31-9 at half-time.

Posthumus says the fun element is often forgotten, but not at Vishuis. He says it is not just about the first team either. “Almost every house member, no matter if he studies medicine or if he hasn’t played rugby before, is playing a bit of rugby on a Friday evening. That is also why we, as a fairly small residence, can field five teams.”

More than just a game

Although their proud record serves as motivation, it is about more than just rugby. “The guys grow together in different ways. It is an honour to see how they grow during a season, also spiritually.”

They have been lucky not to suffer many serious injuries over a number of seasons, Posthumus says. “We are privileged to have 110 years of history behind our residence, and people from within and outside buy into who we are.”

“Our (new) coach, Zane Botha, is also a valuable acquisition. He has taken our rugby to the next 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