Inaugural lecture reinforces concept of gender, equity, equality

Issued by
Johannesburg, Aug 31, 2016

An inaugural lecture presented by Prof Connie Zulu took a thoughtful look at the concept of gender, equity and equality. Prof Zulu, who is from the Faculty of Education and Training on the Mafikeng Campus of the North-West University, presented her inaugural lecture on 18 August with the theme: "Gender equity and equality in higher education leadership: What's social justice and substantive equality got to do with it?"

Professor Zulu is a well-established NRF C rated researcher within the field of academic writing and reading, as well as in gender and leadership. Her interests in this area are reinforced by her concern for social justice, equity and equality. This is fuelled by her primary socialisation in a mainly female multicultural and religious environment, as well as her later socialisation into educational leadership in a predominantly male-led work environment in secondary schools.

In her lecture, she unpacked the main concepts of gender, equity and equality and the notions of social justice and substantive equality, displaying how all these concepts are integrated and interwoven in a study of higher education leadership that uses gender as a lens.

Prof Zulu stated that transformation in universities cannot be complete without paying attention to gender. "Firstly, to achieve gender equity and equality in higher education leadership should begin with implementation of gender policies. This cannot happen without a gender forum to deal specifically with gender-related issues, particularly in the context of leadership. Such a forum should ensure the promotion of full participation of women in decision-making. This constitutes gender mainstreaming or demarginalising of women's needs in transformation discourses," she said.

She also recommended that gender transformation should not be about numbers, but about quality as well. She concluded by saying commitment to promoting gender equity and equality in higher education leadership is commendable. However, it must be supported by a concrete programme of action. "Gender equity and equality in higher education leadership is an ideal to which we should be prepared to commit effort and resources as we transform our institutions," she said.