Inyathelo's Executive Director Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge addressed alumni at the University of the Free State during their recent "Reunion Weekend". In acknowledgement
of Women's Month, UFS Chancellor Khotso Mokhele asked her to reflect on the role and responsibility of higher education in preparing women for society.
Education is vital for South Africa's transformation. Yet, as Nozizwe points out, South Africa has low participation rates in higher education in comparison to other emerging economies. And although the situation is improving, there are not enough women entering higher education, and fewer still are earning degrees. This, Nozizwe adds, highlights the need for interventions -- bursaries, institutional support-- that target poor women.
Beyond merely educating women, universities must prepare women for leadership before South Africa's democratic transformation can be considered complete. Says Nozizwe, "the content of the courses and the research agenda must contribute to achieving gender equality. This is not only a matter of numbers. It is also about transforming the culture of our universities to be inclusive."