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 hosts a successful New Music Indaba
2015-08-18

  

Held at the University of the Free State’s Odeion School of Music (OSM), the NewMusicSA’s New Music Indaba 2015 featured works which Clare Loveday described as “breathtaking, discreet, and perfectly balanced.”

Loveday, one of South Africa’s acclaimed music critics and was Composer-in-Residence for the annual Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, attended the Indaba from 21-26 July 2015. In a review of Saturday’s gala concert, she referred to recitals of this nature as an “essential part of the South African musical landscape, providing musicians and composers a space in which to express their world.”

Staff and students of the OSM were extensively involved in facilitating the festivities as a symbol of commitment to South Africa and international contemporary art music. The OSM Camerata under the baton of Xavier Cloete performed two works by South African composer Hendrik Hofmeyr well as a work by young Argentinian composer Diego Soifer entitled Mille Regretz .The festival featured music theory lectures, a variety of workshops, roundtable discussions ,concerts as well as an outreach programme.

Loveday described the highlight of her Indaba experience as “A delicate construction of sounds and silences that drew the listener into a focused and intense sound world,” a highlight created by the visiting German composer, Charlotte Seither’s “Far From Distance” for piano, clarinet, and cello. The concert evening culminated with Diale Mabitsela's "Friday Nights at Six," adding to the spectacular nature of the festival.

Throughout the week, classical chamber works featuring South African New Music Ensemble (SANME), the Choir of Christ Church Arcadia, and the Odeion Vocal Consort were performed and well-received. Bringing the five-day event to a conclusion was a choral mass at the Bloemfontein Anglican Cathedral, featuring an “Agnus Dei” written by George T. King.
 
Douglas Scott, Curator of the 2015 Indaba, reflected on it as a great success, saying that, “most of the participants agreed the event was a wonderful opportunity simply to hear different voices from the composition community juxtaposed with one another.”

From Scott’s perspective, the principal goal was to foster communication between artists with different visions, and to reach out to the local community.

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