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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

Kovsies / Pukke Intervarsity 2008: Results
2008-08-14

SPORTKODE SPANNE TEAMS   UITSLAE / RESULTS
      UV / UFS PUK
GHOLF / GOLF MANS / MEN   1 7
      * *
KARATE MANS / MEN   * *
  DAMES / LADIES   * *
TAFELTENNIS / TABLE TENNIS UV USSA TEAM PUK USSA TEAM 4 2
PLUIMBAL/ BADMINTON UV / UFS PUK 1 0
  UV / UFS PUK 0 1
VLUGBAL / VOLLEYBALL UV MANS / UFS MEN PUK MANS 5 0
MUURBAL / SQUASH UV USSA TEAM PUK USSA TEAM 4 2
LANDLOOP / CROSS COUNTRY UV MANS / UFS MEN PUK MANS * *
  UV VROUE / UFS WOMEN PUK VROUE * *
BASKETBAL / BASKETBALL UV MANS / UFS MEN PUK MANS * *
SOKKER FOOTBALL UFS 1 MEN ALS PUK MEN 2 1
SOCCER UFS 2 MEN PUK 2 MEN 0 1
  UFS WOMEN PUK WOMEN 4 0
TENNIS UV MANS / UFS MEN PUK MANS 4 11
  UV VROUE / UFS WOMEN PUK VROUE 14 1
HOKKIE HOCKEY ABSA KOVSIES WOMEN PUK WOMEN 0 8
HOCKEY ABSA UFS 2 WOMEN PUK 2 WOMEN 1 3
  SOETDORING VMN 1 2
  SONNEDOU WNB 2 1
  ROOSMARYN DINKI 2 1
  EMILY HOBHOUSE HEIDE 0 5
  ABSA KOVSIES MEN PUK MEN 0 3
  ARMENTUM VERITAS 2 1
  VERITAS EXCELSIOR 5 0
  KNIGHTS PATRIA (DAAG NIE OP) 1 0
NETBAL NETBALL SOETDORING DINKI 35 25
NETBALL WNB EIKENHOF 39 24
  MARJOLEIN MINJONET 14 20
  VMN 2 BELLATRIX 12 28
  VMN 1 WANDA 16 25
  ROOSMARYN VMN 22 35
  EMILY HOBHOUSE KARLIEN 11 26
  SOETDORING 2 WNB 17 23
RUGBY FNB SHIMLAS PUKKE 20 21
  IRAWAS IBBIES 12 18
  UV / UFS U/21 PUK O/21 30 13
  UV / UFS U/19 PUK O/19 24 11
  UV RITSIMS PUK 3 0 19
  ARMENTUM VERITAS 7 5
  VISHUIS WILGERS 22 31
  KAREE CAPUT 13 43
  JBM VILLAGERS 18 17
  LANDBOU INGENIEURS 33 10
  REITZ PATRIA 40 8
  VERITAS OVERS 3 38
INTERVARSITY OPSOMMING / SUMMARY 2008      
      KOVSIES PUKKE
         
WEDSTRYDE / GAMES     41 41
GEWEN / WON     0 0
VERLOOR / LOST     0 0
GELYK / DRAWN     0 0
         
INTERVARSITY OPSOMMING / SUMMARY 2007      
      KOVSIES PUKKE
         
WEDSTRYDE / GAMES     41 41
GEWEN / WON     13 27
VERLOOR / LOST     27 13
GELYK / DRAWN     1 1
INTERVARSITY OPSOMMING / SUMMARY 2006      
      KOVSIES PUKKE
WEDSTRYDE / GAMES     46 46
GEWEN / WON     27 16
VERLOOR / LOST     16 27
GELYK / DRAWN     3 3

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