The Annual Journal of
SOUTH AFRICAN ASSOCIATION
of WOMEN GRADUATES
P O Box 570, Rondebosch 7701
Hazel Bowen e-mail: email@example.com
Liezl Cornelissen: LCORNELISSEN@uwc.ac.za
Treasurer: Dr Shirley Churms: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phuti Mogasel: email@example.com
Victoria Nembaware: Victoria@sanbi.ac.za
Dr Beverley Ramstad: firstname.lastname@example.org
P O Box 642, Parklands 2121
Jocelyn A. Bell: email@example.com
Com. Member: Elizabeth Mathebe
Lyn Snodgrass: firstname.lastname@example.org
Idette Noome: email@example.com
Dr Suchitra Singh: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Marietjie van Deventel: email@example.com
Glenda Gabada: firstname.lastname@example.org
In a letter to all National Federations and Associations in February
2004, the then IFUW President, Professor Reiko Aoki, wrote: In order
to lay a sound foundation for peace, every right of human beings should
be respected, and to lay the foundation for the respect of human rights,
mainstreaming gender equity should be further enhanced and extended.
Our ultimate mission as well as our unique contribution to society
is, of course, to realize these goals through education.
She emphasized that we should be available to the real needs of our
present society, and that there should be a change in our availability.
In this Journal we see evidence
of SAAWG’s commitment to these
ideals. The ongoing Mentoring Programme and the Aurora Project of the
Johannesburg Branch serve to address the needs of women and girls in
our South African society – scholars, students and those engaged
in life-long learning. SAAWG’s Cape Town 5-0 Project which was
completed in February 2004, brought manufacturing and business skills
into the hands of needy women in the Western Cape. A report and poster
on this 5-0 project was presented at the IFUW Conference in Perth,
Australia, in 2004.
At our Annual Conference
held in Johannesburg and at the Annual Luncheon of the Cape Town
Branch, eminent speakers like Cheryl Gillwald (Deputy
Minister Correctional Services) and Amanda Gouws (Head of Faculty of
Politics, University of Stellenbosch) stressed the need for women to
take their place in the decision-making process of our country in order
to bring a women’s perspective to matters affecting women and
children. When in August some 2000 women marched in Pretoria to commemorate
the mass protest by women 48 years ago, the banner held aloft served
to reaffirm for all belonging to our organization the need to play
an active role as WOMEN BUILDING A BETTER SOUTH AFRICA AND A BETTER
We are putting the expertise
we’ve gained back into “growing” our
communities but do not let us forget to instill in our youth the basic
need of R E S P E C T for all.
Developments in South Africa
Margaret Edwards, National President
We have been described as
the “searching generation’.
We need so many answers - answers to the larger problems of the world,
answers to the conditions in our nation, and most of all, answers for
How do we know in what direction we should go? How can we separate
truth from opinion? In whom can we trust?
On one side we hear that the answer to our dilemma is education. Build
bigger and better schools, hire more teachers, develop a smarter generation.
Has the academic community found the answers? There are many students
who are dissatisfied with being told that the sole purpose of education
is to develop inquiring minds. They want to find some answers to their
On the other side what do
the politicians say? “We have the
solutions to the problems. Elect us and we’ll prove it to you”.
I am not downgrading the importance of electing honest, intelligent
people to positions of leadership. This is important, terribly important,
but are they able to provide the answer to the basic and visceral questions
but in fact these were written in 1970 by Hal Lindsey in the introduction
to his book The Late Great Planet Earth.
Lindsey goes on to say: “Throughout
history we have seen impressive strides taken by [men] people who
were stepping ahead of their time.
We have seen reforms advanced from ideas generated by [men] people
of vision. And yet governments, [men] people falter and fall, great
ideas are sometimes rejected by the short-sightedness of other [men]
people. Are we able to say that the answer is in the realm of political
were focussed on the influence of men, but what of women?
In South Africa there have been so many issues during the last year
affecting the status of women, and during the electioneering campaigns
many promises were made to attract votes. The rhetoric continues as
new ministers have been appointed at national and provincial level.
The appointment of Naledi Pandor as the Minister of Education has been
warmly received, and it has been particularly pleasing that an Honorary
member of SAAWG has been placed in this pivotal role.
With my background it is
natural that I consider education to be a key issue. I am not ignoring
the challenges presented by the speakers
at this year’s SAAWG conference. In fact we can go a long way
towards meeting these challenges by seeking to ensure that the youth
of our country are properly and appropriately educated.
In 2001 the South African
government set up 25 Sectoral Training Agencies (Setas) under the
auspices of the Department of Labour, with the aim
of providing training for people, particularly in the SMME (small,
medium and micro enterprises) sector of the economy and the unemployed.
The action (or lack thereof) of Setas has been very much in the news.
An example is an article in The Star headed “Four years on and
it is a mixed bag for Setas”. It is the contention of the writer
that most businesses in South Africa only see getting their money back
as the overriding benefit when it comes to participating in Seta activities.
Cheryl James, CEO of Fasset, the Seta for finance and related areas,
states that the benefits that accrue from participation in Setas initiatives
extend far beyond any financial considerations. As you no doubt know
the private sector has to pay 1% of the salary package into the Skills
All educational institutions fall under the Education Development
and Training Providers (EDTP) Seta. Each Seta has a Quality Assurance
arm. In the case of the EDTP this is the Education Training Quality
Assurance (ETQA). It is there to monitor the manner in which institutions
are run. The Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the Council
of Higher Education (HCE) caused consternation when it released the
results of the re-accreditation of the MBA programmes offered by 27
registered institutions - only 6 were accredited and 12 were given
conditional accreditation. This is evidence that the Seta is taking
its work seriously. However, I would be interested to see what criteria
were used for accreditation.
Money from the Skills Development
Fund of the EDTP Seta is being used to provide for Learnerships to
allow students to obtain a Teacher’s
Diploma. The theory is good but, in practice, difficulties have been
encountered by schools working with a student involved in a Learnership.
The money is not paid upfront but in three tranches, with the third
being paid only after the successful conclusion of the diploma. The
Learnership money goes towards fees, books and transport. In independent
schools the school sponsors the student and the money is paid to the
school. However, a problem arises in government schools. In this case
the Education Department sponsors the student holding the Learnership
and then has to claim from Seta. Very often this means that there is
no financial support until the Learnership year has been completed.
This makes it very difficult to persuade people to apply for Learnerships
if they do not have money, and this rather defeats the aim of the Learnership
Programme. It is important to remember that the school is not in any
way responsible for employing the Learnership holder on completion
of the qualification. The purpose of the Learnership is to enable the
student to gain the qualification which will make her/him employable.
The Seta has been approached by ISASA (Independent Schools Association
of Southern Africa) to introduce a new Learnership, enabling qualified
teachers from disadvantaged areas, especially rural areas, to hone
their skills in OBE (Outcomes Base Education) and learn updated teaching
methods so as to make them more effective in their communities. Thus
far there has been no response to this idea.
In the Learnership Programme ETQA accredits all service providers
but not the school at which the Learnership is in place. Thus a teacher
at the school mentors the student but the university where the diploma
is being followed is considered the service provider.
There are two ways in which money can be claimed by a school from
the Skills Development Fund:
• for a formal Learnership; or
• for a discretionary grant; this requires an enormous amount of paper
work and the outcome is not guaranteed. A Work Skills Plan is required
for this funding.
Because the Setas hold all the funds, they pay out for the Learnerships.
It is disturbing to note that a survey done in 2003 by the South African
Chamber of Business revealed that there had been a decrease of 13%
in the number of companies claiming reimbursement of skills levies
from the Setas. The main reason given was the enormous administrative
hassles encountered when making the claim. However, the question arises
- are these companies in fact running skills development programmes?
To claim the following conditions must be met:
• There has to be a Work Skills Plan for
- equity training of service staff;
- for the upgrading of a teacher’s qualification.
• A claim must be made a year ahead.
• A year later an implementation form has to be completed stating where
and how the money was spent.
The Setas fall under the Department of Labour (DoL) and have DoL structures
which do not necessarily suit the education sector. This causes many
difficulties for schools:
- The financial year-end in March is totally out of kilter with the
- In the DoL, equity training can lead to promotion from one department
to another, e.g. bus driver to bookkeeper. However, in a school the
skills training has to be in the person’s area of work, e.g.
gardener to horticulturist or cleaner to laboratory assistant. For
teachers to upgrade their qualifications the training must be within
the parameters of their work experience.
- There has been a change in focus recently that allows all people
to have equal access to training and this should have a positive spin-off
for the schools. Every school will be required to have a Skills Development
facilitator who is Seta trained:
. At present no one is trained;
. Training of facilitators will begin only in 2005 but from 2006 it
may become mandatory to have a Seta trained facilitator;
. This will cause difficulties for schools that do not have a programme
in place or do not have a member of staff who can take on the extra
- Teachers appointed as Skills Development Facilitators by their
schools often have to use holiday time to cope with the additional
Any surplus must be paid out but many Setas have been tardy in applying
this ruling. However Setas may be galvanized to act more in line with
the Skills Development Amendment Act when their current period of establishment
comes to an end in March 2005. All Setas will be required to apply
for a renewal certificate. This re-establishment exercise should provide
an opportunity to review actual performance.
A very interesting development in Gauteng is the formation of a Collaborative
Fund. This has been a partnership formed between the Gauteng Department
of Education and donors from the business sector. It is known as the
Gauteng Department of Education Trust and operates as follows:
- Projects are put forward and assessed. If approved, the money is
paid out upfront;
- There is a year-by-year application initially for a 3-year period;
- Schools work in clusters
One such collaborative scheme
is run by Kingsmead Junior School with St Katharine’s School
and 8 junior schools from Soweto. The trust provides the finances
- Organising the sharing of best practice between the teachers;
- Providing replacement teachers during this period while the teachers
are away on courses;
- Teachers’ transport;
- A netball festival between the 10 schools - held at Kingsmead;
- A choir festival for the schools at Vista University in Soweto;
- A Principals’ Day twice a year.
Johannesburg is the centre of many systems set up to improve the lot
of pupils and teachers and a great deal of excellent work is being
done by committed teachers. I feel sure that this is the case in other
areas but there are problems:
- Devolution of services has not yet been achieved.
- There is a great discrepancy in resources between provinces and there
are still many disadvantaged areas.
- There is a great deal of politicizing and posturing by responsible
- Much jealousy is directed at schools where the parents are able to
give financial assistance for extra staff and facilities.
- There are discrepancies in the availability of sports facilities.
- There is insufficient focus on arts and culture in many schools.
- A disturbing factor is that all librarian posts have been removed
from Soweto schools.
- The use of language in the schools is very complex. Mother tongue
is being used in grades 1-6 and English skills are diminishing, particularly
in the rural areas. This will seriously disadvantage pupils wishing
to proceed to tertiary education and will affect the language skills
of those who later might want to enter the global market.
- Many teachers are feeling disempowered because they are not sure
how to make their voices heard in ‘high places’ as a result
of the long lines of communication. Principals are pivotal in maintaining
good relationships between the school and the district.
In general I seem to have highlighted shortcomings in the educational
system. Paradoxically I have not done this to be negative, but to draw
attention to the fact that although there have been so many good things
put in place, we need to keep a watchful eye on what is happening in
all areas of education.
As an organization that
is committed to furthering the development of education to influence
and benefit society in our new democracy,
we need to network with other organizations involved with education
and with the unions in our area to ‘keep in the loop’.
May I ask you to do this and report back any findings that require
the attention of the National Executive Committee? Deputy Minister
Cheryl Gillwald has made it abundantly clear that she will be pleased
to assist the organization if we need to lobby in any area. We should
certainly use a golden opportunity such as this offer presents.
Let us use our expertise to effect change where it is necessary. Let
us apply our knowledge and skills to the solution of problems in all
areas of public life and participate in decision-making at local and
national level. In fact let us, as individuals and as an organization,
be agents of change wherever and whenever we see the need.
STUDENT AID REPORT
Fifteen awards to the value of R1 000-00 were made for 2003. Below
is a schedule of the recipients and the courses they are following.
Eight awards were new and the balance were renewals (for students who
had successfully completed their studies for 2002 but had not yet finished
their degree or diploma).
UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN
A Thomas, 3rd year B Mus R
DURBAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Phundile Ngqulunga, 3rd year, National Diploma
Chartered Institute of Secretaries N
TECHNIKON FREE STATE
AV Loliwe, 2nd year, Natonal Diploma Office
Management & Technology N
UNIVERSITY OF THE FREE STATE
Elize Theron, 3rd year, BA R
Leanda van Jaarsveld, 4th year, MBCHB R
UNIVERSITY OF NATAL
BP Khuduga, 5th year, BCom R
RAND AFRIKAANS UNIVERSITY
Ilze Smith, 3rd year, B BSc Actuarial R
L Milne, 2nd year, BA Languages N
Shantel Patel, 3rd year, National Diploma Child & Youth Development
UNIVERSITY OF STELLENBOSCH
VS Bushula, 4th year, B BSc Molecular Biology N
UNIVERSITY OF PORT ELIZABETH
Tabisa Gwila, 2nd year, BMus ED N
UNIVERSITY OF THE WESTERN CAPE
Wanda Arnolds, 3rd year, B Psychology R
Maeema Essop, 1st year, B Tech: Fashion R
N Adonis, 2nd year, National Diploma Food Technology N
N = New R = Renewal
As decided at the 2003 AGM, the recipients for 2004 will be awarded
R2 000-00 each.
At this AGM (2004) Cape Town branch has presented a resolution in an
attempt to clarify and finalize the situation with regard to the legacy
from Kathleen Armstrong.
Hazel Bowen: Student Aid Administrator
Award: 3 awards of R600 each were made.
Candice Enoch & Joanne Mendelski – East London (Buffalo City College)
Nombongo Ntalo – Queenstown (Ikhala College)
Award: 1 award of R500
Kedilatile Magdaline Leeto – University of Free State
R2 500 was awarded to Canadian Cangace Davidson, living in Westville, Natal.
Else Strivens: Convener:
HANSI POLLAK FELLOWSHIP
In 1985, R15,000 from the
estate of the late Hansi Pollak was given to SAAUW to fulfil a condition
of her will i.e. the establishment of
a Fellowship to assist women graduates in the Social Sciences to conduct
research leading to a Master’s Degree or Doctorate. It was specified
that the research should be aimed at “ameliorating social conditions
in South Africa”, that the Fellow should spend at least two years
implementing the results of her research, and that she should donate
a copy of her thesis to the organization.
The R15,000 was invested in bonds and shares on the Johannesburg Stock
Exchange, and the money has remained in an account at Investec Securities
since that date. At the end of the year 2003, the market value of the
portfolio was R14 014,04.
Between 1986 and 2003 a total of R42 900 has been paid to the Fellows.
The stipulation of the will was that the value of the Fellowship was
to be at least R600 per annum for two years. The value has since been
increased to R3 000 per annum for two years.
Although there are costs
to running the Fellowship – consisting
mostly of photocopying, paper, envelopes, post box rental and postage,
no charge has ever been made.
The 2003/4 Fellow is Gillian Attwood, of the University of the Witwatersrand,
whose work involves the empowerment of rural women through literacy.
She has been so successful in her work that she has been asked to present
a paper in Austria later this year. She is to be congratulated on her
achievements and I am sure that she is a person whose scholarship and
dedication would have commended her greatly to Dr Pollak.
Jocelyn A. Bell: Convener
After the Branch AGM held at Bains Kloof in early May, Shirley Churms,
Peggy Impson and Hazel Bowen (as Branch President) attended the National
AGM in Johannesburg on 28 May. The official launch of the Tinge of
Blue and the National Conference also took place over that weekend.
The Executive consisted of Hazel Bowen (President), Shirley Churms
(Treasurer), Liezl Cornelissen (Secretary) and Phuti Mogase, a small
but active committee. Victoria Nembaware joined us in March 2004 when
she undertook to work on the mentorship/HIV/AIDS project. The Executive
met on a monthly basis.
As at 31 December 2003 the Branch had on its membership roll a total
of 64, of whom 39 were full members, 12 senior members, 6 student
members, 3 Honorary Life Members of the Branch, 1 Honorary Life member
of the Association and 3 Honorary Members. Of these, however, only
16 full members, 9 senior members and 2 student members were fully
paid-up by the end of the year although more members paid their 2003
fees in 2004.
We need to have an Executive
member dedicated to working with new members and especially the prospective
ones who make enquiries but
do not always follow up with sending in their application forms and
fees. The President’s office deals with many of the enquiries
and the Treasurer receives the money and liaises with the new members.
Ena Bowman passed away in July 2003.
- On 23 August we held a meeting with the theme “Towards a Climate
of Peace in our Schools”, at which the main speaker was a Branch
member, Jean Baxen, of the UCT School of Education.
Two schoolgirls, including the daughter of Executive member Phuti
Mogase, gave us a demonstration of the processes involved in peer mediation
as an approach to conflict resolution in primary schools.
- On 20 September
we held a discussion on Changes in Higher Education, presented by
Paula Ensor and Sue-Ellen Shay, both from UCT.
• In October we began
the Mentoring workshops:
A Parenting workshop (10th) presented by Ons Plek (Pam Jackson) and
the Parent Centre (Fouzia Ryklief) ; and
A Postgraduate Writing Workshop (11th) presented by two of our members,
Shirley Churms and Cathy Hutchings.
The mentorship programme fund paid for Mangakakane Ramaila to come
down from Limpopo (she is one of the participants in the programme).
She stayed with the Branch President. Besides attending these two workshops
she accompanied Hazel Bowen to the Department of Health, Quaker Peace
Centre and Ikamva Labantu (all in Cape Town).
• On 12/13 November,
the Branch President attended, as one of the representatives from
SAAWG, the meetings held in Pretoria to finalize
the formation of a committee to represent Civil Society at the African
Union (ECOSOCC - South Africa Consultative Conference).
On 27 November the Cape Town branch held a launch of the 80th Anniversary
publication, A Tinge of Blue. This was hosted by the Cape Technikon
at their Hotel School. A number of women from the various tertiary
institutions and women’s organizations (including HERS-SA)
attended the function at which Peggy Impson, as the Editor-in-Chief
of the publication, provided a very lively and fascinating insight
into the lives of some of the women profiled in the book. A very
comprehensive write-up was provided by Gillian Turner in the Southern
• The end of year function was held on 30 November at the President’s
Centre and combined with a crafts afternoon when members worked with
lavender. Again we collected gifts or money for the Ons Plek girls.
On 24 January the Branch President and Phuti Mogase attended a meeting
at the Cape Town Civic Centre where the Civil Society’s City
Wide Forum was finalized.
• February was taken
up with two activities : one a meeting with the Deputy Director,
Curriculum Development from the Western Cape
Provincial Education Department, Jenny Rault-Smith (20th). This meeting
provided valuable insight into the current situation in schools and
the challenges facing education. The second activity (22nd) was an
evening get-together with a visitor from Canada, Ann Kirkland.
Margret Gehner was contacted
by an AAUW member. The Branch President met up with the visitor briefly – however,
Margret accompanied the visitor and her husband to various centres
• March again saw us debating issues around schooling when we
held our first Margaret Lindsay Memorial Lecture (26th). This was held
at University of Cape Town and took the form of a panel discussion.
Peggy Impson started off the evening with a tribute to Margaret Lindsay.
Jean Baxen, a member, spoke on her research into schooling in South
Africa. She discussed some of her findings in relation to the various
Education Department Policies and especially around the issue of HIV/AIDS.
Peter Fenton from the Provincial Department (Curriculum Development)
discussed their findings and activities around the effects of HIV/AIDS.
Helene Sieborger represented the National Union of Educators and raised
issues creating stress and unhappiness within the teacher fraternity.
Jenny Rault-Smith, Deputy Director Curriculum Development, then concluded
the discussion by highlighting policies and challenges being faced
with regard to Cultural Diversity, Multilingualism and the further
implementation of Outcomes based education for the Grades 10 –12.
A lively discussion ensued from the audience, after which we adjoined
for refreshments and further interaction. Everyone who knew Margaret
Lindsay felt she would have approved of the evening!
Victoria Nembaware visited the Centre for the Book and the Peer Counselling
HIV/Aids project at UWC and reported back on possible collaborative
• In April (7th) we
entertained a Canadian visitor, Jo Pleshakov, and her daughter. Also
in April (17th) the Branch AGM was held at Mona
Meiring-Steyn's home in Claremont. We were
• addressed by a Cape Town member, Sahar Hussein who is from Iraq and
who recently went back there for a visit.
• On 15 May a further mentorship activity was held – an
undergraduate writing workshop.
Project 5.0 – Community
This project has now been finalized and a report compiled. A copy of
the report was sent to International Project 5-0 and handed to Community
Creations at a “farewell” function held at the factory
on 15 March 2004. This report is available at R70 per copy. National
office and IFUW received copies. A total amount of R131 800.98 was
provided for the project – the main expenses being R41 500
for equipment, R82 300 for Fabric and R6 200 for training and certification.
Obviously, all groups will maintain contact with Community Creations
and take visitors to Cape Town so that we continue to assist with marketing
Marie Grant Award
Unfortunately we again were unable to present an award to a student
from University of Western Cape.
On 7 November the Marie Grant Award was presented to Sarah Rouse from
UCT. Jean Baxen from the Education Department (and a member) arranged
this function for us.
This report is provided separately but National Office obtained legal
advice regarding management of the fund. Cape Town branch has submitted
a resolution for the 2004 National AGM confirming that the capital
(shares) will be managed by the Cape Town branch (through a special
subcommittee) and that administrative costs should be based only
on the amount awarded per annum (ie not on the whole amount in the
The Branch approved the idea of at least R2 000 (ie the equivalent
of one award) being made available to the SAFM Live School Literacy
Marie-Lou Roux continues to keep the executive informed on environmental
issues and will report to the branch in response to the requirements
set out at the World Conference on Sustainable Development.
In June we will hold our Branch luncheon. We intend running another
series of undergraduate writing workshops (in September), this time
at University of Western Cape and we will also concentrate on English
Thanks were extended to the executive members. Peggy Impson was also
thanked for her work on the SAAWG Journal.
Hazel Bowen : Branch President
The main activities of the Branch were centred around our monthly
meetings and our projects, although we were also hosts to the members
of IFUW who came to Johannesburg during our 80th Birthday Friendship
Our regular monthly meetings took the form of lunches at Hofmeyr House
on the East Campus of the University of the Witwatersrand. I would
like to thank Naomi Monama for providing delicious teas for these
Our speakers addressed matters
of concern and interest at these meetings and we are grateful to
them for providing us with insights and stimulation.
Our National President, Margaret Edwards, has suggested that we should
offer a year’s membership to our speakers, where appropriate,
as a means of widening our horizons. Speakers from among our members
have included – Elsa Strivens, on “Plagues: Ancient and
Modern”; and Jean Borkum, on “Women for Peace”.
Other speakers whom we have
enjoyed were –
Barbara Giacomin, the Canadian Trade Commissioner in Johannesburg,
on “Women in Diplomacy”; David Shapshak, on “Technology
and Education”; and Golo Moultwane, on “The Umsobomvu
In addition to our usual Tuesday monthly meetings we experimented
with quarterly Saturday meetings at the Wanderers Club, in order to
give working women the opportunity to attend. We invited all independent
members of SAAWG who live within easy driving distance of Johannesburg
to these meetings, and have been disappointed that, so far, none has
been able to attend. We chose the Wanderers Club as our venue because
of its proximity to the motorway.
Our final quarterly meeting
took the form of an “End of Year
Party” at my home. At this meeting a special award was made to
Jill Duncan for the care and help she has given, over the years, to
many of our elderly members.
Our projects required a great deal of care and attention from those
of our members who assisted with them. For such a small branch of
a small organization, our projects prove that we really do “punch
above our weight”.
Due to the difficulties encountered in dealing with our Johannesburg
Universities, we were unable to award our usual Bursary of R3 000
in 2003. However, it was suggested that we should consider giving
the 2004 bursary to Nothukela Nqana, our 2002 Essay Competition winner,
as she has kept in touch with us, including informing us that she
would have been unable to attend any tertiary institution without
our assistance. She is attending a Technikon, and would be able to
join our organization only as an Associate member on graduation.
A successful Essay competition was held in 2003, thanks to the donation
of R12 000 given to us by Anglo American Corporation at the end of
2002. We sent invitations to approximately 1 000 schools. We received
53 essays from 23 schools which is a poor return for our efforts.
It has been suggested that our topic was too difficult for schoolgirls
but those girls who replied produced worthwhile essays. Our First
Prize Winner was Safera Ally of St. Oswald’s Secondary School
in Newcastle. She has already registered at UNISA to read for a B.Com.
(She received distinctions in English and Afrikaans in her final
We received requests from previous Prize Winners for their prize money
to be paid to the Universities of their choice. The Essay Competition
is beginning to reach the young women who could be relied upon to carry
on the excellent traditions of service to the community that has been
the characteristic of SAAWG since its foundation in 1923.
A full report is provided separately. We are very grateful to those
of our members who help with presentations, designing and printing
certificates, doing calligraphy on the certificates, and generally
helping to keep the project running smoothly. In particular I would
like to thank Margaret Edwards, Pamela Quin, Catherine Bell, Gillian
Wilkinson, Berna Foden and Beverley Ballard-Tremeer for their help.
ANNUAL PUBLIC LECTURE:
Given the 80th Birthday celebrations and our special National AGM,
we decided not to hold our Annual Public Lecture in 2003, but we
hope to be able to do so in 2004.
Our newsletters have appeared sporadically, due to the illness that
accompanied the pregnancy of our editor, Maylene Damoense. However,
Margaret Edwards has come to our rescue as far as members able to access
e-mail are concerned. Elizabeth Mathebe has agreed to take over the
job of Editor.
80TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS:
We were very pleased to take part in the Johannesburg leg of the “Friendship
Tour” planned by Hazel Bowen as the focus of our 80th Birthday
We hosted a braaivleis at
the home of Berna Foden, which was a most successful affair due to
the prodigious effort made by Berna and her
augmented staff. We accompanied the tour to the “Cradle of Humanity” and
the Krugersdorp Game Reserve. The tour members loved the herds of animals
on the plains, and were able to see lions and rhinos in a reasonably
natural environment. During the tour to “Doornkop”, the
home of General Smuts, we were all very pleased to see the Honorary
Membership Certificate of SAAUW awarded to “Ouma Smuts” displayed
on her wall.
We accompanied the tour
to Soweto, and the Apartheid Museum, as well as to a show at Gold
Reef City, and finally, I took the members on
a tour to the “Top of the Carlton” and concluded the formal
part of the tour at a splendid dinner at the Rand Club. We also arranged
to take the members on a post-tour visit to the Johannesburg Art Gallery.
Complementary copies of
A Tinge of Blue were given to Parktown Girls’ High
School, Kingsmead College and Jeppe Girls’ High School for their
libraries, because their past Head Mistresses are mentioned in the
book. It is also an excellent source book on South African women of
the 20th Century and should possibly also be given to the other girls’ schools
I wish to pay tribute to Hylda Hedges, who died last year after a series
of major operations for a heart condition and vascular problems. Hylda
was the person who first introduced me to SAAUW (as it was then). She
was Johannesburg Branch President at the time, and soon became National
President. She brought to both positions her own brand of graciousness,
humour and sense of appropriateness and occasion. She was always willing
to go the extra mile for the Association, and always willing to do
whatever was necessary to further the aims and well-being of our Association.
As a friend she was loyal and supportive, as a person she was devout
and sincere, and as a member she was always ready to support us to
the hilt. I shall miss her very much, and the Association will be the
less without her. May she rest in peace and enjoy the reward for which
her life has entitled her.
Another distinguished member
of our Association who died last year was Benny Munro. Although we
saw little of her in the last few years,
she was one of the most effective members of the women’s movement
in South Africa. If her main interest was the National Council of Women,
she nevertheless contributed greatly to SAAUW over the years. We must
give thanks for her life, and remember her with gratitude.
An association like ours can only operate if there is an effective
committee, and I would like to thank all the members of the committee:
Beverley Ballard –Tremeer, our Secretary; Berna Foden, our
Treasurer; Sylvia Shapshak, our Vice President and Recruitment Secretary;
Nishi Sing; Elizabeth Mathebe; Nevensha Sing and Maylene Damoense.
All worked hard for the Association and Branch, and without them
we would not have been able to function. Although not officially
committee members, I would like to thank Margaret Edwards and Catherine
Bell for all the support and help they have given me.
2003 was an active year and, I hope, an enjoyable one for all our
members. Thank you for your support and I hope that 2004 will be an
equally busy and stimulating year, where we continue to make an effective
and worthwhile contribution to our community.
Jocelyn A Bell: Branch President
FAY (Vivienne Warton) HENLEY
MERCIA VAN REENEN
AURORA PROJECT 2003
A joint project of the Johannesburg Branch of the South African Association
of Women Graduates, Soroptimists International of Johannesburg and
Aim and Mission Statement
To support South African adolescent girls (and school teachers) from
disadvantaged areas, with the objective of enhancing their self-esteem,
and enabling them to lead fulfilled lives as persons in their own
right, as well as in their roles as wives and mothers.
Seminars Presented During 2003
Four Seminars were presented during the year. These were attended by
pupils from Aurora, Letsibogo and Meadowlands High Schools in Soweto
and Kingsmead College in Johannesburg. Aurora, Letsibogo and Kingsmead
College are “girls only schools”, while Meadowlands is
a co-educational school. In order to avoid difficulties, should boys
from Meadowlands wish to attend, attendance from that school was
by invitation only.
One seminar was specifically
for Grade 12 girls, and was entitled “Life
after Matric”, two of the seminars were presented to Grade 11
girls, viz. “Balancing my Life” and “Survival Strategies
in Life” and one seminar, “Leadership through Technology”,
was presented to Grade 10 girls. Each seminar is presented with the
aim of making the girls realize that they are, “Wonderfully Woman”.
1 Life after Matric
Modules presented: Starting a Small Business; Goal Setting; Looking
for Bursaries; Holding a Meeting; Interview Techniques; Dressing
for the Occasion; Wonderfully Woman – Developing My Talents.
National Student Financial Aid Scheme booklets were given to each participant
at the end of the day.
2 Balancing my Life
This included: Examination Techniques; Skin Care; Money Management;
Career Choice; Personal Relationships; Substance Abuse; Wonderfully
3 Survival Strategies in Life
Focused on: -First Aid and Personal Safety; Etiquette; Starting a CV;
HIV/AIDS; Public Speaking; Wonderfully Woman – Taking Control
of your Life.
4 Leadership and Management through Technology
Devised and presented by Tim Joyce, a retired engineer, this seminar
aims to teach the rudiments of Management, Leadership, Bookkeeping
and Engineering Design. Anyone visiting the seminar in the middle
of the session would see it as “organized chaos”, but
in fact, it is a lively and enjoyable way of learning about the world
of work and especially work of project management and engineering.
In a country significantly lacking in scientific and technological
skills, this seminar opens new vistas of stimulation and ambition
for the girls
The girls are charged R25 per seminar. Kingsmead College provides the
venue and all the food as part of its Outreach Programme. Soroptimists
International of Johannesburg pays for the buses for alternate seminars,
while the project itself finances all other expenses.
Certificates of Attendance
Each attendee is presented with a certificate at her own school assembly
during the following week. The project is grateful to Catherine Bell
for the production of the very attractive certificates and to our
calligraphers, Gillian Wilkinson, Pamela Quin and Catherine Bell.
Simple assessment questionnaires completed by the girls are used by
the presenters to improve their presentations where specific recommendations
are made. Judging from the assessment questionnaires, this is a highly
Since the objective of the project is to increase the self-esteem of
the girls involved, it has been considered desirable to try to test
the effects of the seminars. One of the teachers at Letsibogo High
School, Beatrice Morare, designed a questionnaire to test the self-esteem
of the girls, and the effects of the seminars on the girl’s
self-perceptions. Unfortunately, we have been unable to have the
questionnaires analyzed, but have been in contact with the Department
of Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand, and are hopeful
that we will be able to gauge the effects of the seminars on the
self esteem of the girls during the course of 2004.
Much more work will have to be done on this questionnaire but the
prognosis is encouraging. Furthermore, we regard the work of creating,
marking and evaluating the questionnaire as a most beneficial spin-off
of the project.
Speakers and Presenters
Members of SAAWG and Soroptimists International of Johannesburg, and
many of the speakers do not receive any reward for their participation
or their time. Outside speakers, such as our motivational speakers,
or the representatives of business such as Justine, are given pens
or gift vouchers as a token of our appreciation.
Future of the Project
All experts seem to be agreed that there is a considerable need for
this project, since the self-esteem of young black girls is very
low. It seems self-evident, therefore, that the project should be
expanded, although this raises major difficulties. Kingsmead College
has requested a share in the fees charged to the girls. Furthermore,
the project is now paying for the buses for alternate seminars.
Two possibilities for expansion
seem feasible however. It may be possible to franchise the project
and offer it to other like-minded NGOs, such
as “Jong Dames Dinamiek” and black organizations interested
in this type of project. The other possibility is that Kingsmead College
could persuade other independent schools to consider such a project
and expand it into areas such as Orange Farm or Alexandra Township.
News of this project is disseminated through
Soroptimists International which was awarded a Certificate of Best
Practice in 1997, and a Certificate for the Best On-going Project
undertaken by Soroptimists International of South Africa. Copies
were given to the four participating schools. IFUW has also acknowledged
the efficacy of the project.
This project addresses real needs existing in South Africa, and probably
the rest of Africa. It does appear to result in the enhancement of
the self-esteem of the participants i.e. it is effective in achieving
its aims. Furthermore it is a means of enhancing inter-cultural and
inter-racial communication and respect.
JOCELYN A BELL
BINA ROY PROJECT
The social, economic and educational development of women and girls
in South Africa is greatly restricted because of factors such as
high unemployment/underemployment, lack of information, poor computer
literacy, HIV/AIDS infection, poor career guidance, lack of knowledge
regarding gender issues, and domestic and other violence. Naturally,
these problems are greater within the rural areas and within particular
The Mentorship Programme has as its aim the addressing of some of
these issues through the Association mentoring its own members in an
under-resourced community so that they may in turn assist focus groups.
The Community Project Development Model provided by IFUW stresses the
importance of “Understanding the Community” and then
providing a “Needs Assessment” before setting “Goals
and Objectives” and “Planning the Project Activities”.
To this end a questionnaire was drawn up and administered in two communities:
Lefalane, Northern Province and Moetladimo, Limpopo Province.
A few points are highlighted below:
There are few further education institutions in the near vicinity of
either community; although each has pre-schools and junior and secondary
Both communities have a number of women’s groups through which
and with which our mentors could work.
There are facilities which could be used.
Common concerns highlighted by community members:
. Teenage pregnancies
. Lack of opportunities or facilities for skills training/entrepreneurial
. Lack of opportunities to enter higher or further education
. Lack of sex education
. Lack of information on HIV/AIDS and/or opportunities to talk about
. High school drop-out/failure rates
. Lack of school infrastructure
. Need for greater parental involvement in school matters
. Need for greater motivation within learners (perhaps because learners
see no “future” ahead of them)
. Lack of good roads
. Lack of sports/recreational facilities (although an NGO “Score” seems
to be active)
The teachers are particularly concerned about redeployment. It is
also possible that unemployed teachers in rural areas do not always
have adequate access to information regarding open posts. The number
of posts per school is usually based on a ratio of 1:50 learners. Therefore
fewer teachers are carrying a greater teaching load. Added to this
has been the stress of dealing with changes to the school curriculum
and methodology as South Africa changes to an outcomes based educational
Schools are supposed to have Management Committees consisting of parents.
Obviously in certain areas these are not up and running or functioning
adequately when parents are not motivated or are not prepared to take
on these responsibilities. Sex education is included in the lifeskills
section of the new curriculum but there have been problems in that
teachers are not always comfortable dealing with this topic (because
of cultural norms etc).
The lack of water has now been resolved to a certain extent as the
drought has broken in most areas.
The government has provided
a child grant to assist mothers feed their babies. In fact, this
grant has recently (2003) been extended to children
up to the age of 14 years. Although this assistance has proved very
necessary, it appears that the system is being “abused” in
that young girls fall pregnant in order to obtain this (rather low)
monthly amount. I have discussed this issue with a few black teachers/community
people in Cape Town and have been told that this situation applies
within their areas as well – or at least, is a commonly held
It was also felt that the Association and the project leader needed
to know the identified mentors better and begin providing them with
research and report writing skills.
Two workshops were held in October 2003:
A Parenting workshop (10th) presented by Ons Plek (Pam Jackson) and
the Parent Centre (Fouzia Ryklief) ; and
A Postgraduate Writing Workshop (11th) presented by two of our members,
Shirley Churms and Cathy Hutchings
The mentorship programme fund paid for Mangakakane Ramaila (one of
the identified mentors) to come down from Northern Province. She stayed
with the Branch President. Besides attending these two workshops, she
accompanied Hazel Bowen to the Department of Health, Quaker Peace Centre
and Ikamva Labantu (all in Cape Town) where information was shared
and some relevant material provided for her.
In order to better understand the current schooling situation the Cape
Town branch held meetings as outlined in the Cape Town branch report.
These meetings provided valuable insight into the current situation
in schools and the challenges facing education
Also in February, a branch executive member, Victoria Nembaware, visited
the Centre for the Book and the Peer Counselling HIV/Aids project at
UWC regarding possible collaborative activities.
Centre for the Book:
There is a general willingness to collaborate as long as we have a
proposal and means of obtaining funding. They have initiated and
produced short story books from high school learners; a short story
book from an AIDS workshop and writing workshops for school teachers/educators.
HIV projects at UWC:
The HIV project at UWC has five sub-branches:
. Healthwise (Life-skills training in schools)
. Peer Training (HIV/AIDS)
. Gender based programmes
. OVC - Orphan and vulnerable children programme.
Undergraduate writing and language development workshops are planned
as part of the mentorship programme.
Mangakakane Ramaila from Lefalane, Northern Province and Dina Masete
in Moetladimo, Limpopo Province have undertaken to act as mentors.
As access to a fax is limited and expensive, stationery items were
purchased so that reports could be written in duplicate and posted.
A “throw-away” camera was also provided for some visual
material of the two areas and the people involved. Time and distance
are the two challenges for such a programme.
Both attended the National AGM in Johannesburg.
Contacts for networking have been made. Literature and various aids
have been sourced and workshops have been held. We now move to the
stage of setting realistic goals and objectives in these two pilot
areas, and to begin planning project activities with specific focus
It will be essential to continue to provide as much back-up support
as possible but the communities appear to have structures through which
our mentors can operate.
More funds will definitely need to be sourced. It appears essential
that members and the branches provide workshops on subjects such as
• personal development/self-esteem
• career guidance
• computer literacy
Funds for bursaries would seem to be a high priority once the matriculants
have been correctly assessed.
Importance of the Electoral System for
Representation - Why it is important to make
use of women in government
delivered at Luncheon Meeting of the
Cape Town Branch, June 2004
Prof Amanda Gouws
University of Stellenbosch
2004 election South Africa ranks 11th in the world with regard
to the number of women in parliament, having
women in 131 seats. The relatively high number of women in parliament
can be attributed to the proportional list electoral system and the
acceptance of a one third voluntary quota by the governing party,
the ANC. The benefit of a proportional list system is that it ensures
that women and small parties have access to representation. But what
really makes the difference in South Africa is the ANC’s quota.
Without the ANC’s quota there would have been far fewer women
in parliament. None of the opposition parties have accepted a quota
for women’s representation.
Women account for quite a significant constituency with 1 982 876
more women than men having registered to vote. This means that probably
more women than men have voted. Research on previous election results
has, however, shown no significant gender gap between men and women
when it comes to voting behaviour. A gender gap exists when a significant
larger number of women than men vote for a certain party or on grounds
of certain issues. There are many issues that could contribute to
a gender gap such as the fact that women die in larger numbers of
HIV/AIDS than men, the impact of unemployment on women as primary
caregivers, basic needs issues such as housing, water, electricity
and education and violence against women. The lack of a gender gap
can probably be attributed to a lack of alternatives among the different
parties. During the 2004 election most parties dealt with the same
issues and most of them did it in a gender blind fashion.
the ANC is the party with the best track record for delivering
issues, no party really attempted to mobilize the women’s
vote, even though women have the power to swing an election. Voters
are not mobilized by their gender identities. Racial and class identities
and their intersection with gender and party loyalty play a more important role when it comes to voting behaviour in South
With a 69.68%
of the vote going to the ANC it got 279 of the seats while 107
are now filled by women. This is 82% of the total number
of seats held by women. In total there are 131 women in parliament
in contrast to the 119 elected in the 1999 election. Women therefore
constitute 32.8% of the National Assembly, mostly due to the increase
in the ANC’s share of the vote and its commitment to a one
third gender quota. In this election the ANC put women in electable
positions as nearly every third name on the national candidate’s
list was that of a woman. The 50/50 campaign spearheaded by the Gender
Advocacy Campaign (GAP) demanded that 50% women be elected to parliament
by 2005 to get parity with men. Even though the campaign raised consciousness
about women’s representation and helped in getting the women's
vote out it did not succeed in getting 50% women in parliament because
a zebra list of “every second name on the list a women’s
name was not used.
The opposition parties managed to get a few more women into parliament.
The DA has 10 out of 50 women, the IFP 6 out of 28, the UDM 3 out
of 9, the ID 2 out of 7, the NNP 1 out of 7, the ACDP 1 out of 6,
the UCDP 1 out of 3, the MF 1 out of 2 and the FF+, AZAPO and the
PAC 0. In the bigger opposition parties women may not be placed strategically
on the list.
cabinet are approaching the 50% mark with 41.2% ministers and deputy-ministers.
With 4 premiers out of 9 women make up 44.5%
of the premiers. President Mbeki has shown the ANC’s commitment
to gender equality by appointing 10 women ministers and 12 deputy-ministers.
Women now fill some of the most powerful ministries in government
such as Justice (Bridgette Mabandla), Foreign Affairs (Nkosazana
Zuma) and Education (Naledi Pandor). These portfolios are not the “soft
ministries” usually assigned to women. Other ministries headed
by women are Agriculture and Land (Thoko Didiza), Housing (Lindiwe
Sisulu), Home Affairs (Nosivivwe Mapisa-Nqakula), Health (Manto Tshabalala-Msimang),
Minerals and Energy (Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka), Public Service (Geraldine
Fraser-Moleketi), Water and Forestry (Buyi Sonjica), and Communications
(Ivy Matsepe-Cassaburri). While the social portfolios such as health
and housing are also run by women, all these portfolios together
form the key to social transformation in South Africa.
made it clear that he needs ministers who can deliver on policies
that will form the cornerstone of the ANC’s “contract
with the people”. Putting women in these important portfolios
also expresses his faith in their ability to deliver. Many of the
women ministers have a strong gender consciousness and may contribute
to monitoring the gender sensitivity of the policies they have to
implement. A relationship between women in parliament and the National
Machinery for Women is very important to ensure the necessary monitoring
work on gender issues. In this regard the Joint Standing Committee
on the Quality of Live and the Status of Women (JSQLSW) has done
excellent work in the past. Unfortunately government has lost two
of its gender stalwarts, in the persons of the previous speaker,
Frene Ginwala, and the Chair of JSQLSW, Pregs Govender. The loss
of their experience is a loss to all women in South Africa.
of the ANC’s quota system cannot be underestimated
for delivering a large number of women to parliament. Yet, this is
a voluntary quota. The danger of voluntary quotas is that if a party’s
support declines the number of women also declines, or if
the electoral system changes, women may lose out. A legislated quota
would be more effective to ensure that women remain in government.
It will also force opposition parties to accept a quota. With the
problem of accountability in the PR system, the electoral system
may be changed to a mixed PR and district system as recommended by
the Van Zyl Slabbert Task Team. The number of women in parliament
will then decline. Evidence of this already exists on a local level
where more women are elected from the PR lists than in the wards.
are so many women in government it is important for citizens to
use them and to keep them accountable to the women’s
constituency. This can be done through also accessing the National
Machinery for Women in South Africa. The most pivotal structure is
the Joint Standing Committee on the Quality of Life and the Status
of Women. Women can contribute to support for women in government
through coming to public hearings on pending bills. My research has
shown that few women are involved and that legal organizations dominate
Women in government need our support just as much as we need to
keep them accountable.
EXPERIENCES IN IRAQ
Talk delivered at Cape Town Branch AGM,
Dr Sahar Hussein
I am in no way related to Saddam Hussein as some of you might think.
Actually I was one of many who suffered because of his cruel regime.
I was born in Baghdad in 1963, being the eldest daughter in a middle
class family. I graduated from the College of Medicine in 1987 and
was granted my Masters in Human Anatomy in 1995. I left the country
in 1997 to work as lecturer in Anatomy in Libya. In 2002 I decided
to come to South Africa to continue my PhD Studies in medicine. I
was received with love by my South African supervisors and colleagues
who are supportive and caring. Their kindness I can only mention
but never repay.
I would like
to provide a little information on Iraq‘s history.
Iraq is part of the Arabian Peninsula. It is 400 000 sq Km in size
with a population of 24 million: 96% being Muslim, 3% Christians
and 1% Jewish. The country is rich in oil, natural gas, phosphates
and sulphur. It has abundant land and water resources. This fertile
land which was once known as Mesopotamia, was the site of flourishing
ancient civilizations. I am sure that you all have heard about the
Sumerian and Babylonians cultures. Muslims conquered Iraq in the
seventh century. In the eighth century the Abbasid Caliphate established
its capital at Baghdad which became a frontier outpost on the Ottoman
At the end of the First World War Iraq became a British mandated
territory. When it was declared independent in 1932, the Hashemite
family that also ruled Jordan, ruled Iraq. In 1945 Iraq joined the
United Nations and became a founding member of the Arab League. In
1956 the Baghdad Pact allied Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and the
UK and established its headquarters at Baghdad.
Qasim took power in July 1958. He ended Iraq’s
membership in the Baghdad pact in 1959. Qasim was assassinated in
February 1963 when the Baath Party took power. It was the only party
in Iraq until the American invasion.
The Iraq economy is characterized by heavy dependence on oil exports.
Prior to the outbreak of the Iraqi-Iranian war in 1980, Iraq economic
prospects were bright but the war devastated the economy. The war
ended in 1988, leaving Iraq with the largest military establishment
in the Gulf region but also with huge debt and an ongoing rebellion
by the Kurdish people in the northern area of Iraq. The government
suppressed the rebellion by using weapons of mass destruction on
Kuwait in 1990 but a US-led coalition expelled Iraq from Kuwait
in February 1991 through an operation known as “Desert
Storm”. After the war a UN mandated sanction, based on Security
Council resolutions, called for the Saddam regime to surrender its
weapons of mass destruction and submit to UN inspection. Iraq was
allowed, under the UN “oil for food” programme to export
oil with which it could purchase food, medicine and other humanitarian
I had the chance to visit my country in February 2004 after being
away for seven years. As much I was happy to go back, I was shocked
to see the devastation of the country. Basic services such as electricity
and telephonic communication were and are inadequate, and there are
fuel crises! Believe it or not, unemployment is a major issue. And
on top of that there is a general state of anarchy. Whether the conditions
are going to improve after the handover of power to the Iraqis in
June 2004 is really unpredictable.
Hall, Kingsmead College, Tottenham Avenue, Melrose, Johannesburg
29 May 2004
~ Women as Agents of Change ~
Address by the Deputy Minister for Correctional Services
Cheryl Gillwald (MP)
Women as Agents of Change may be broad, but it lies right at the
heart of our task, which is, to build a united new South Africa
free of poverty and oppression. This not a debate about whether women
are or can be agents of change. Rather, it is a discussion about
the ways in which women can become much more effective agents of
change. It’s about seizing the opportunities to translate what
we already know as women into considered and sustained action – action
that will make a difference.
South Africa, our rich and often tragic past offers plenty of cues
about what we must do. All we need do is look to our many heroines
who committed life and limb to social change. Who can forget the
evocative image of twenty thousand women marching on the Union
in 1956 to register their rejection of the insidious pass laws?
we ever forget, let us sing the mantra of our very own Agents of
Change: Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Sophie de Bruyn, Albertina
Sisulu, Amina Cachalia…
of the definitive catalysts that turns women to activism is social
injustice. The heroines of the struggle against apartheid
this reality. In a very real way, women begin to understand
the real measure of internal strength when they are confronted
This is true the world over.
knows no borders. Recent United Nation’s
statistical analyses have revealed that women perform two-thirds
of the world’s work, earn one-tenth of the world’s income
and own less than one-hundredth of the world’s property. These
conditions are not only immoral, they are unsustainable and we must – all
of us – act now before it is too late.
must not only remember our heroines. We must also make the connection
between the sacrifices they made and the advances we now enjoy.
In South Africa, women have made giant strides since 1994 in both
public and private sectors. An increased presence at all levels
in institutional hierarchies and greater participation in the decision-making
process are two direct indicators that the transformational process
is well underway.
question for us now is how to improve on the conditions they won
for us. How do we translate the different positions that we
have achieved in the public and private sectors into meaningful
not only for other women working in the formal sector, but for
all women, especially those vulnerable women in the distant rural
of our country?
special situation of rural women is of particular importance to
us in South Africa. As a silent majority, these women play
a significant role in economic subsistence, the survival of
of food and shelter, to name but a few responsibilities they
must, of necessity, undertake.
a development-based environment, the fundamental premise for entry
into the economy, even at subsistence level, is equal
resources. Women and especially rural women, if they are
to survive, must have equal access to land, water, credit, technology,
and health services. But more importantly they must play
active role in the decision-making processes that set economic
the past decade the number of people living in poverty has increased.
But it has increased disproportionately for
in the developing countries, and that includes South Africa.
is this feminization of poverty permitted?
I believe it is because, despite the real strides that
that have been made by women, there is an overarching
failure to mainstream
a gender perspective into all political, economic and
social transformation processes. I also believe that this is
from unique to South
Africa; it is true internationally.
achievement of true empowerment for women across all race and class
barriers, and most particularly for
women, remains the subject of national discussion and
lies at the very
South African policy formulation. But still the “glass ceiling” persists
at almost every level and it leaves most African women
with unfulfilled expectations.
is an undeniable fact that women’s access to political influence
and to decision-making in both the public and private sectors has
improved significantly since the country’s
first democratic elections in 1994.
leaders in the African National Congress have recognised that the
liberation of our country
women participate fully and on an equal footing
at all levels of society.
In 1981 Oliver Tambo he insisted that “[women] have a duty
to liberate us men from antique concepts and attitudes about the
place and role of women in society.”
the onset, when the ANC formed the new government, it acknowledged
that there had been systematic
marginalization of women during
a succession of apartheid governments. The organization
an urgent need for corrective action to empower
women. The new government
was also determined to reflect this empowerment
drive in the national, provincial and local government
sentiment was clearly captured in former President Nelson Mandela’s
inaugural speech when he said: “It is vitally important that
all structures of government, including the President himself, should
understand this fully: that freedom cannot be achieved unless women
have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.”
his state of the nation address to our parliament in February 2003,
President Thabo Mbeki noted
that the government
failed to achieve the necessary progress
on gender equity. This was
a clarion call for even faster and more effective
to facilitate women’s empowerment.
our president made clear, of course, is that equality for women
is not a narrow
interest – it’s critically
important for both women and men and it
is essential to the long term development
of our country.
government has not only sought to increase the number of women
ministers and deputy
have been appointed to “non traditional’’ key
positions such Foreign Affairs, Minerals
and Energy, and Public Service and
I think it may be useful to remind ourselves that just ten years
was but one
woman in the South
Cabinet and she had the distinction
of being the first-ever female member
Parliament too represents a clean break from the past with both
and the Chairperson
of the NCOP being women.
government has not only put in place legislation aimed at empowering
but has also been
exemplary in advocating
by reserving a number of seats
all spheres of government for women.
the civil service,
level and they are increasingly
represented in the upper echelons of the Public
But does political influence translate
into empowerment and improvement
on the status
of women? How do
we make rights
real? Today provides
us with an ideal opportunity to
assess whether this increased visibility
for women in positions
into real change
for women in general. Are we leveraging
maximum change for women across
board? Are we
increased visibility and participation
into making our Constitutional
able to maximize this contribution
in a work place that itself
has remained structurally unchanged
in spite of our entry into that
our increasing representation in the various sectors of government,
challenges in fulfilling our
as public representatives. This
surprising given that unequal
gender relations do not cease
to exist at the doors of the various
Women not only have to battle
sexism, but also have to wrestle
conflict between home
working practices in many public
institutions continue to present
women, especially those with
children, with huge
challenges. In most cases these
gender specific problems are
a general lack of institutional
support. We have to move to a
society in which
the care of children is more
equally shared between women
and men – and
where employers respond to the
need for taking family into account.
with political influence are increasingly bringing the
plight of women, especially
rural women, to the
fore and vigorously
against the violence and male
domination to which they are
The increased presence
women in the legislatures,
and other structures of government
has made it possible for women
senior civil servants to promote
women’s interests through new legislation
as well as through an increasingly strong lobby to transform male-dominated
institutional norms, values and cultures. Men and male-dominated
institutions need to be empowered so that needs of women are placed
on everyone’s agenda,
not just women lawmakers.
see, however much better
South Africa might be for
you and me
and other women
who are employed,
African women do not yet
have either the resources or the
lives for the
the important milestones
that I have outlined, the
road ahead is still
very long before institutional
power is shared equally between
persistence of a predominantly
male culture in most organizations
for those women who have
penetrated the "glass ceiling" to
ensure that their voices
are effectively heard and acted upon.
rights is now our preoccupation. While our
Constitution is regarded
as one of the most
progressive in the world,
our challenge on a daily
basis is to realise the
rights it envisages.
that the majority of women
continue to face marginalization
in their homes, workplaces
and communities. We will
in our task
legislative measures and
on the ground.
It requires giving effect
to substantive equality.
especially black women still constitute
South Africa and
continue to face
in most facets of their
lives. While a large
percentage of these women
households, they have
little access into the
employment sector. Most
black women are therefore
confined to the
There is a strong and
moral need to ensure that the
addresses their needs.
should all realise that government alone
have the resources
and the person-power
myriad challenges that
face us. Co-operation
with the private sector
areas is therefore
essential if women are to be truly
empowered in all
sectors, whether economic
strides have already been made in mainstreaming
into the political
and economic spheres.
But there is much
to be done.
must capitalise on
these gains and prepare
a co-ordinated way
We must be activists
for change and we
the men in
our society to become
well. Our message
is clear: that
making women’s rights real in the home, in the
workplace and in the community is good for the family, it’s
good for business and it’s
good for government.
And we will not settle
embracing the concept of substantive
the notion of formal
of ‘difference’ both
between men and women and also amongst women. This paradigm shift
has opened the door for dealing with women’s
South Africa, particularly
the compound oppression
suffered by African,
class and poor
women, as a direct
legacy of our apartheid
reforms, trade liberalization
in the field of
could come under threat
from large multi-national
is evidenced in our country
casualization of the
On the other hand,
the less formal
and e-mails have
voices as never
around the world.
counter-posed with another
so aptly: “Women are usually
the first to be affected by the consequences of globalization, whether
economic, social, or political, and often bear the brunt of the hardship
that comes with them,”
have an important
play in putting
the ‘personal is political.’ This new subjectivity
does not consider gender alone; it includes all aspects of identity
(sexuality, race, class and ability.) It calls for a language and
politics of 'hybridity' that reflects the collective experience marked
by the realities of multi-cultural exchange, fusion and conflict.
It encompasses lives that combine blackness, whiteness, brownness,
gayness, bisexuality, and straightness.
today to increase
change, no matter
of their time
History of the Women’s Lobby – Founded 1991, Johannesburg,
Doris Ravenhill and Babette Kabak
ringing up the changes
Gender in South African Politics
Edited by Colleen Lowe Morna
with a foreword by Gertrude Mongella
Facing the Challenges of Globalization
Selected Interdisciplinary Seminar Papers,
Ottawa Conference 2001
LANGUAGE AND LITERACY –
Striving for a win-win situation with the AIDS language
in South Africa
Cape Town Branch member
as a paper at the SAAWG National Conference in May 2004 and as
a Workshop at the IFUW Conference in Australia in August 2004,
and based on her Master’s thesis, successfully submitted to University of Stellenbosch in April 2004.
“Did anybody have sex last night?” –
Sounds unromantic and quite disrespectful, doesn’t it? In fact,
to many African people, and especially the men, this question would
be completely unacceptable. Unfortunately, this is the language of
the AIDS generation: bare, direct and to the point! The role of language
in communicating among those vulnerable to HIV/AIDS has been neglected
in AIDS education and awareness literature and campaigns. I have
found support, through interviews and reading I undertook, for the
need to challenge the absence in AIDS communication of recognition
of cultural norms as well as the reality of illiteracy.
My presentation is not academic, philosophical, medical or scientific.
It is inspired by my observations on cultural values; on how the
impact of AIDS communication in a developing country (South Africa)
is received, especially among Black youngsters who are the target
for most education campaigns.
The topic refers to the grammatical and medical structure of the
messages conveying concepts and issues related to HIV/AIDS. Language
covers, for example, imagery, branding and signage. I shall use
the term AIDS to cover both HIV and AIDS.
THE LANGUAGE OF AIDS
The language of AIDS is the language of power, distance, rank and
politics and is very exclusive and individualistic. AIDS itself
appears to be a cloud from the powerful blown over the disempowered.
It has been portrayed as a plague for the “DARK CONTINENT”.
language plays a large role in communication. How people communicate
anchors on their cultural beliefs and background. Even
though – as is often the case - an audience may not challenge
the manner of delivery, if the speech and manner of delivering are
inappropriate, the implementation will be minimal. In this case,
therefore, silence is not always consent but perhaps avoidance.
Above is an example of a university campus poster to
create AIDS awareness.
(Reproduced with kind permission from the HIV/AIDS Unit, University
of Cape Town.)
When asked to respond to this poster, young men indicated that:
• It is very romantically provocative and stimulating.
• It does not say much about AIDS itself; therefore it is not very
poster therefore clearly does
not achieve its purpose!
Communication is about
putting a message across, loud and clear. What is the meaning of
a communication without a message? When brand
pushers such as Lovelife do not know what makes its audience ‘tick’ then
its campaign has lost its purpose. As a musician said in an interview: “when
I compose a song, I put in certain lines which I want my fans to
remember and sing”. This simply means it is important for AIDS
campaigners to differentiate and vary their messages according to
different viewers and audiences.
LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
The term “Culture” will be used in two senses.
The first is a classical type of definition referring to all the
cognitive and social traits, as well as artifacts, associated with
a women’s group. These are learned, can pass from one generation
to the next and can become quite systemically interrelated, so that
when something changes in one domain there are repercussions in other
The second sense emphasizes that culture is itself a biological,
genetically inherited capacity of Homo sapiens, evolved through time,
with people continually engaged in its evolution.
While cultural traits are mostly inherited in that they are learned
from parents, they are not genetically inherited, allowing for alterations
that are far more rapid than those in biological evolution.
This second sense of the
term “culture” is especially
important in a discussion of AIDS. Good prevention or care should
be based on culturally appropriate strategies with messages that
respect local culture. Only culturally competent personnel working
in AIDS prevention and care can expect success rather than a greater
spread of the infection and stigmatization.
Another complicating factor besides intercultural variability is
that of intracultural variability. Anthropologists now caution that
intracultural variability must be acknowledged: not everyone thinks,
feels and behaves in the same ways even if they are from a particular
Many people simply stress that behaviour must be changed, ignoring
the larger issue of cultural norms and factors contributing to vulnerability.
Still others believe that biological drivers associated with many
of the social and behavioural factors contributing to the spread
of AIDS are essential to the propagation of the species, and are
intransigent to change. These might include the male sex drive and
male dominance, the social mechanism of stigmatization and the propensity
of humans to become addicted to chemicals that produce pleasure.
The question becomes: should culture be manipulated in directive
ways and who has the right to do so?
We must also recognize that there are many important purposes for
maintaining ethnicity in the face of homogenizing forces. Sexual
cultures reflect this as well. The contexts in which people live
their sexual lives differ greatly and no simple scaled-up, national
AIDS prevention programme can be expected to be effective for all.
Language is part of culture and embodies emotions, attitudes, expectations,
values, perceptions etc. Since the language of AIDS is understandably
based on medical and western terminology, to most Africans it simply
means that AIDS is a Western idea. The AIDS acronym was believed
to stand for American Ideas for Discouraging Sex! This, I believe,
is the first problem regarding how the danger of AIDS is communicated
to communities and townships. Language is important in the struggle
against AIDS; we cannot ignore its use in AIDS education.
• What the language of AIDS education ignores is that we do not all
live in a homogenous society or community; therefore diversifying
the signage and language is important.
The AIDS campaign applies a ‘one size fits all’ approach;
therefore alterations and adaptations are necessary to make it relevant
in different communities.
• English is not transcendent; speakers of other languages, therefore,
have difficulties obtaining the relevant message.
The discourse of consumerism – the conflict between “positioning
and driving the brand” (ie Lovelife itself as a commodity)
and Lovelife as an agent of change.)
LANGUAGE OF AIDS AND LITERACY
The word AIDS by itself is a very “heavy” term to an
ordinary person in the community; not because of the long words the
acronym stands for but because of its associations. The explanation
given to bereaved families is that the deceased died of cancer or
a related disease, or sometimes, more directly – that he/she
died from “the four letters”. However, the actual name
is not said as, culturally, it is not polite to associate the death
of a loved one with a gruesome disease such as AIDS, which is “an
outsider, a terrorist and a white -imposed disease”.
AIDS language is so educated,
so English; that it is too complicated for ordinary people to understand
it or know how to engage with it,
never mind engaging with the disease itself. To counter this effect
a document has been developed to help in promoting AIDS literacy.
Teachers will find health information that is appropriate for classroom
use and can share literacy information and easy-to-read health materials
with health professionals (Health & Literacy Compendium, World
Education, Article, 1999). This document shows a good link between
health status and literacy status.
The link between the spread
of AIDS and literacy is crucial. For example: what is a ‘helper T cell’?
How does an ordinary person explain these terms and functions?
The question today is what
percentage of South African women are literate and, of the literate,
how many are infected? How many women are knowledgeable enough or
understand AIDS except those in medical or AIDS related fields? Are
we tired of hearing about HIV/AIDS; or is it the only significant
part of our lives?
LANGUAGE AND POWER
AIDS communication carries an element of inevitable death, which
should be changed to a message of support and encouragement. Communication
about AIDS is generally in an individualistic, stigmatizing and
very exclusive style rather than being inclusive and communal.
African culture does not promote this approach. Therefore, as a
result of this incorrect approach, if one has AIDS one will be
stigmatized and ostracized because it was never introduced, nor
presented, as a joint venture, as a shared value.
Translators of educational
material about AIDS have ignored the problems of adapting English
messages into African languages, especially
in South Africa. The AIDS language is difficult to engage with because
it deals with private lives, private acts, and private parts – all
taboo issues! Words like ‘sex’ and genital parts like ‘vagina’ and ‘penis’ sound
light and acceptable in English because they are biological terms.
In my language, Setswana, this is not the case. For instance, in
my language the only time genitals are called by their real names
is in swearing but otherwise euphemisms, such as ‘kuku’ for
vagina and ‘motsokwana’ for penis, are used. With this
in mind, how do we change the mindset into accepting that it is permissible,
and indeed normal, to call private parts by their real names? And
will this be a case of culture in transition or an imposition of
some other culture? Whatever the answer, however, culture-sensitive
communication is essential.
Speaking at a public forum
on Empowering Women to Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Mary Fisher, an
American activist and artist, said that, “language
could be used to lift and inspire women or to demean and break them” (Waltainfo,
May 2004, pg 8). The language of our culture defines us in ways we
cannot define ourselves. I concur with Fisher’s view that the
media carry streams of demeaning images and victimization slogans
instead of messages of education and encouragement to AIDS sufferers.
To most English speakers
and in Western society in general there may be no serious difficulties
with the language of AIDS as there
is for African communities where AIDS thrives. The major concern
is that, in most ethnic cultures, certain acts are taboo. Discussions
between a husband and wife are not allowed – the man dictates,
the woman obeys, period. Now, with this background, how does a woman
negotiate for safer sex?
Another factor to be considered
is that the African society has a simple way of dealing with problems – eradication. If the
problem persists, it must be ignored, avoided or hidden it until
it goes away. For example, everything has to be black or white, left
or right; you are a woman or a man, not a transvestite – otherwise
you would be ostracized because you do not fit into any category.
Therefore, if one is HIV- positive, one is expected to hide it, not
disclose it, because the community knows nothing about it, and cannot
If one discloses one’s HIV-positive status, then victimization
follows with stigmatization, ostracism or even eradication. I read
a story of a Zulu woman from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, who disclosed
her status in a radio interview. Subsequently she was killed and
her house burnt. She was viewed as bringing this Western disease
into the community; “accepting” its existence. This links
with the point made earlier about not disclosing the actual cause
of an AIDS death.
However, the language of AIDS discourse encourages disclosure, of
which the African communities disapprove.
Women, as custodians of language and as the main caregivers, have
the capacity to curb the spread of AIDS. Women should promote their
leadership skills in and out of the home, to all levels and spheres
of life and reduce vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, gender violence,
poverty and ignorance.
James Hall’s article (Women battle with Culture in order to
fight Aids: September, 2003) highlights the role of Swazi women in
their “Quiet Cultural Revolution” towards self-empowerment
in the face of traditional laws, which deny them equal rights. This
is an example of women’s ability and how they could react in
the current AIDS crisis. It is important to remember that communities,
like individuals, cannot respond to the challenges of AIDS unless
they can express the basic right to be involved in decisions that
The importance of integrating a fuller understanding of what culture
means in all its variability and dynamism to the development of informed
AIDS policy and effective prevention and care cannot be overemphasized.
This is especially important as women tend to bear direct responsibility
for the outcome of any neglect of the AIDS dynamics.
Unfortunately, many women
leave the duty of learning about AIDS to educationists and health
institutions and choose to remain ignorant
about their own sexuality and that of their children. This attitude
or fear to engage has to change. After all, what does ‘living
positively with AIDS’ mean to a person with a background of
ignorance about AIDS? Women need to talk, consult, participate, be
involved and conquer – be silent no more!
Women should care enough
to be involved, despite the complexity of the situation. In South
Africa we are empowered to challenge any
inappropriate or unsuitable situation imposed upon us by society.
We fought long enough for our rights as people but we still feel
that the AIDS issue is somebody else’s responsibility and then
complain that little is being done about the epidemic.
Women need to use literacy
as ammunition – both in English
and their own ethnic languages. This literacy must include AIDS literacy.
Women need to become part of the discussion; play a leading role
in AIDS policy formulation.
The realization that no discourse is free of social constrictions
has far-reaching consequences, and with this in mind, we must also
accept that there is no way of knowing about AIDS outside of its
representation. AIDS does not exist apart from the practices that
conceptualize it, represent it and respond to it, according to
Thomas Piontek in his 1998 papers, Representing Women with HIV/AIDS.
Without analyzing how
messages are encoded, portrayed and received, conceived and perceived,
an English speaker may find it hard to understand
why “these people” never learn or read about the dangers
of AIDS. The point I am making is: it is not true that little is
being done about AIDS awareness in African communities, but it is
the manner of delivery that is at fault. For the message of AIDS
to be effective it has to be gender- and culture- sensitive.
I believe that we have
progressed in AIDS education but I am not convinced that this has
come about through billboards and the message
of “condomizing. It is more the fear of death which is evident
through the escalating number of funerals every weekend in the townships.
Many deaths could have been prevented – and could be in the
future, if women took up the challenge of opposing ignorance and
rapidly started conversing instead of hiding or waiting for the media
to educate other women and the youth.
As women, we are agents
of change. Many of us have been empowered through education and
democracy to confront social issues affecting
us, including the manner in which issues should be presented. Women
are usually more expressive than men, so let us send a positive message,
and accept responsibility for leadership! You don’t need to
know everything, but know your role as a community leader, an employer,
an employee, a mother, a sister, or an aunt. Use what you know, the
language you know, the culture you know, to combat the AIDS epidemic!
PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN AIDS – or it should be, if used correctly.
GLOBALIZATION OVER THE PAST
GLOBALIZATION – EMPOWERING
Talk presented by
Jocelyn A. Bell
President Johannesburg Branch SAAWG
Globalization is by no means a new phenomenon. The Roman Empire,
the first example of globalization, encompassed the whole known
world 2000 years ago. Its extent followed the shores of the Mediterranean
Sea, or Mare Nostrum as it was known. Wherever the Romans conquered,
they brought innumerable benefits to their own citizens. In the
globalized Roman world, a Roman citizen could travel freely throughout
the entire Empire. There was a common currency (based on gold),
while the common languages of Latin and Greek were universally
spoken. Trade flowed freely by sea and land, and the laws of Rome
were always applicable.
It should not be imagined
that the Roman Empire was without its faults – the most glaring
of which was the widespread use of slavery - but we are presently
concerned only with the aspect of
In a rather obscure part
of this globalized Empire, an itinerant preacher (or teacher) began
a process, which continues to this day,
of HUMANIZING the world. Although he died a barbaric death at the
young age of 34, his followers, believing implicitly in his message
(which was based on LOVE and NOT power), were able to spread his
philosophy comparatively easily, because of the benefits of Roman
globalization. Indeed, one of them put it plainly, “When the
fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman.” He
seems to have meant that only in a globalized world could the message
be easily spread. There is also an acknowledgement that the message
of this itinerant preacher, Jesus, including the strange and unusual
circumstances of His birth, encompassed the need to create greater
status for women. Nevertheless, the empowerment of women was not
a benefit of Roman globalization.
Unfortunately, it took many centuries before a more humane civilization
became common, and still more centuries before there was a concerted
effort to empower all women.
It is worth noting that one hundred years after the birth of Jesus,
globalization of Eastern Asia, and specifically China, became a reality.
However, the two worlds of East and West remained unaware of each
other’s existence for centuries to come.
The first globalization lasted for approximately 300 years. The second
globalization, although geographically much greater, lasted approximately
100 years. The first signs of its disintegration came with the Great
War of 1914-1918, and were intensified during the Great Depression
of the 1930s.
The central figure of
the second globalization was a small woman of immense prestige
and influence. She was Empress of an Empire “on
which the sun never set”, and which encompassed vast territories
in North America, Africa and Asia, with India being the jewel in
her crown. In Europe she also wielded great influence, due to the
fact that she had nine children who were able to populate the thrones
of that continent. It was said that her ambassadors were not as effective
in communicating the activities of the various European countries
as were the personal letters of her extended family.
In spite of the immense power wielded by Queen Victoria, however,
women were NOT noticeably empowered.
The Roman Empire fell
to barbarian invasions, although inflation and slavery also played
their part, but the British Empire foundered
on the shoals of inappropriate economic policies followed after the
Great War. The final nail in its coffin came after the Second World
War, as a result of the pressure put on Britain by the US to allow
all its colonies “self-determination”.
In order to understand
the problems of the Great Depression it is necessary to understand
the “beggar thy neighbour” policy
practised by most of the industrialized countries. It was, briefly,
a competitive currency devaluation. At the beginning of the 20th
century world trade was huge. Ships and trains covered the globe,
carrying raw materials to the industrialized countries of Europe
and North America, and manufactured goods to the rest of the world.
As trade was so large and so important, the rate of exchange between
one country and another became equally important. When trade began
to falter at the beginning of the 1930s, each country tried to remedy
the situation by devaluing its currency in order to obtain a comparative
advantage. Needless to say, no one reaped any advantage if all were
playing the same game!
The distressed economic
situation led to the Second World War, which in turn led to the
Cold War. This ended with the virtual collapse
of the Russian Empire, and the ascendance of the US as the world’s
only superpower. We are now experiencing the third world globalization,
and the US is experiencing the “joys and delights” of
being universally disliked, if not actively hated.
The seeds of the present
globalization were laid in the 1970s, when the world’s oil
cartel, OPEC, decided to raise the price of oil by almost 200%.
Initially this resulted in commodities (i.e.
raw materials such as wheat, barley, copper, rubber or gold) becoming
much more expensive, to the detriment of non-oil producing countries,
and the world was plunged into recession. It now became exceedingly
obvious that the entire world was interconnected, and that no country
could hope to exist independently of other countries, i.e. GLOBALIZATION
was a reality.
Globalization exists because
the happenings in any one country impinge upon the happenings of
its neighbours and its trading partners. Even
North Korea, which is the only country in the world that professes
to practice autarchy, cannot keep itself free from outside influences.
Furthermore, the various arms of the United Nations have an influence
on government, trade, human rights, women’s issues, health,
environment, investment, safety, security and almost all matters
that affect our lives.
At present, there is considerable
controversy about the economic advice and assistance being given
to developing countries, in Asia
and Africa or in the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe. Since
this stems from a dispute between the proponents of the “Washington
Consensus” and those whose priorities tend towards upliftment
of the poor, it is necessary to digress for a moment to describe
the two economic theories which deal with development in the broadest
During the Great Depression,
the world’s greatest economist,
Lord Keynes, diagnosed the problem facing governments trying to alleviate
the unemployment that was rife throughout the world, but especially
in the US, as the inability of classical economics (based on monetary
policy) to cure the problem. He realized that interest rates were
inadequate tools for the job, and he devised a new theory which essentially
prescribed government intervention in the economy, by the creation
of jobs in national projects if adequate employment could not be
created by the private sector. This can be a highly successful ploy,
as is exemplified by two such projects that have generated great
wealth and prosperity for the countries concerned. The first is the
Tennessee Valley Authority in the US, which has brought great benefits
to all the surrounding states, and the second is the scenic Banff – Jasper
highway in Canada, which generates millions of dollars each year
Classical economics, whose
most famous (or infamous) modern exponent is Milton Friedman, proposes
that it is unnecessary for a government
to interfere in the economy. In simple terms, the market is considered
able to make all necessary adjustments, contrary evidence notwithstanding.
The “Washington Consensus”, as propounded by the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and, to
a lesser extent, the World Bank, is essentially classical economics.
Because the world has
been so successfully globalized, if a country suffers from economic
problems, representatives of one or all of
those international bodies will visit the country and explain to
its government what is needed before funds will be provided to assist
in alleviating the problem. Generally speaking, the country will
be told to liberalize trade, that is: to remove the export subsidies
it pays to its exporters and reduce tariffs on its imports. This
will allow developed countries to export goods to the depressed country,
while maintaining subsidies on their own agricultural products. This
is the reason why Alec Irwin led the walkout from the last World
Trade talks. (Of course, the “Washington Consensus” would
probably work quite well if the US and the European Union were to
give up their own agricultural subsidies, and open their markets
to the products of the world’s developing countries. Unfortunately,
the developed countries are totally against such a step!
Since women are often the farmers in developing countries, the agricultural
subsidies of the developed world are detrimental to these women.
Globalization, far from empowering them, keeps them mired in poverty.
The present globalization has not resulted in the freedom of movement
that made it so easy to travel the length and breadth of the Roman
Empire. It is hard to imagine St Paul making the same missionary
journeys today. Imagine the number of visas he would need to travel
even to the destinations he did reach (Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Greece,
Albania and Italy), let alone to spread the good news throughout
the world. Aeroplanes may be quicker than donkeys, horses and ships,
but they are also more expensive, and probably not as productive
if you are endeavouring to spread a whole new philosophy by talking
to people along the way.
It seems, therefore, that
the present manifestation of globalization is not as effective
in humanizing the behaviour of the world’s
people as was the first globalization. The ease of trade and travel
was probably better 2 000 years ago than it is today. Furthermore,
an altercation with local authorities could result in an apology
from the official concerned in those days, which is unlikely to happen
today if a person is found infringing some local regulation.
It would appear that the only true humanizing due to globalization
occurred 2 000 years ago and, with the fear of terrorism bedevilling
the world at present, it seems less likely than ever that any change
will be forthcoming.
When it comes to empowering
women, Europe, Asia and Africa are far more enlightened than the
present super-power. The reason for this
seems obscure, since the women’s movement received its greatest
impetus in the US. Women do achieve in politics, business and education
in the US, but not nearly as much as they should have achieved by
now, given both the history of the country and that of the women’s
movement. Speaking from the Southern tip of Africa, where women have
been empowered for at least the last ten years, it seems to me that,
along with our exports of gold, platinum, diamonds, coal, fruit,
sugar, wine etc, we should also be exporting the humanizing philosophy
of that great itinerant preacher, including the empowerment of women!
the Kenyan Environmental Activist whose work on giving
peace back to her land through afforestation, has earned her the
2004 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
THE IFUW RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE
President Cape Town Branch and
Convenor, IFUW Resolutions Committee
2001 – 2004
This time round I had
a very different role to play – not
as the SAAWG official delegate but as convener of the IFUW Resolutions
Of course, I should mention
that the work of the committee starts from the time of the previous
conference and is completed only after
the current conference ends. During the preceding three years we
had alerted NFA’s to urgent matters (called Action Alerts)
and suggested appropriate steps to take.
These included Afghanistan
and the call for women to be represented on the UN-led negotiating
team as well as in the Interim Government
that was about to be established (November 2001); we also discussed
and it was agreed that IFUW sign the Joint Civil Society Declaration – a
call for peace and justice after 11 September 2001 (October 2001).
We highlighted the need to include women judges in the nominations
for the International Criminal Court (ICC) (8 November 2002). There
was further discussion on the question of the USA deciding not to
ratify the ICC and to rather set up bilateral agreements. It was
decided that IFUW should not contact the US Government directly;
however we did ask NFA’s to encourage their governments to
ratify the establishment of the ICC instead of entering into bilateral
agreements. We also supported the request of the IFUW representatives
in Vienna for IFUW to be a signatory to the message addressed to
the UN Security Council, on behalf of the NGO Committee on Peace
in Vienna (October 2002). In November 2002 we were concerned about
the Nigerian/Sha’riah threat to stone Amina Lawal (and other
women) to death – at that time no action was taken but in September
2003 we issued an alert regarding her Appeal. All NFA’s were
asked to be aware that at the regional meetings leading to the 5th
Asian & Pacific Population Conference to take place in Thailand
in December 2002 governments should be encouraged to stand firm and
to ensure that the references to reproductive health rights remain
in the final text (November/December 2002).
We also attempted to find
a way to assist NFA’s put IFUW Resolutions
into their own activities. There is now talk of combining either
the committees or at least some of the tasks in order to achieve
a more cohesive implementation.
Then, in August/September
2003 notice was sent to NFA’s asking
for their motions for resolution at the conference in Perth. We helped
some NFA’s combine their resolutions and others to achieve
clearer wording etc. A French member assisted with the translation
of a resolution from the French Federation. Once this had been completed
IFUW had all resolutions translated into French for distribution
to all NFA’s. At conference the Japanese members also had the
resolutions translated for them.
But this wasn’t the end of the resolution preparation - firstly,
we received two emergency resolutions (one from Canada and one from
Mexico) and, secondly, at all conferences IFUW allows NFA’s
to discuss all resolutions and then provides time when amendments
or other forms of collaboration may take place. Our committee was
in charge of overseeing this process and then working with the office
to prepare the newly improved/ agreed on resolutions for the final
reading and actual voting. This is a sound practice as delegates
feel they have contributed to the resolutions and are happy to work
with them in their own countries. I then presented a final report
to conference. The committee worked again with the office to finalize
the approved wording so that the Resolutions could be placed on the
website and sent to NFA’s.
Circumstances which had a profound effect on the business of the
conference was the news that the American Association would not be
able to pay its dues for 2005 and possibly not for the next three
Working on this committee has been a very good experience; furthermore,
when presenting the resolutions I sat up at the main table in exalted
company! I am no longer on the Resolutions Committee as our National
office put me forward for the Membership Committee. I have been elected
onto this Committee and will combine these duties with my recent
election as President of FUWA (Federation of University Women of
Other Cape Town members
I should also like to mention that two of our Cape Town branch members
(Liezl and Phuti) were also at the conference – one presenting
a paper and the other a workshop. Both presentations went off very
well and the two members together with Catherine Bell from Johannesburg
did sterling work for the conference organizers as part of Young
THE SINGAPORE FRIENDSHIP TOUR
A little about the Singapore and the Perth/Western Australia adventure
The Singapore members who had been on our Friendship Tour last year
(Kin, Peng and Katherine) inspired their Association to offer a
short Friendship Tour for members who could visit Singapore en
route to Perth. This was an outstanding success; a wonderful opportunity
to renew acquaintances as well as meet new members. The Singapore
Association organized a very interesting and varied tour programme
and we were well looked after. I don’t think I have to mention
that food and shopping featured high on the agenda – as did
an introduction to the many cultures evident in Singapore! I had
read something about the history of the country but it was fascinating
to gain a deeper insight – warts and all, hardships and successes.
The visit to the Changi Museum was very moving.
One is just so conscious
of the level of technology which exists in this tiny country, even
to the extent of helping them gain and
use land to its utmost. An example is that their main, wide roads
have potted plants running down the centre – which can be removed
and the area used as a runway in cases of emergencies! A restaurant
not to be missed is the Tepak Sireh next to the Sultan Mosque. All
in all, Singapore is an area very much worth the visit but even better
when you have IFUW members to do you proud! My very best regards
go to all the members I met but especially the above three and the
National President, Brenda Goh, who took particular care of me.
Perth and Environs
If one has official duties at the conference (and takes them fairly
seriously!), there is very little time to do sightseeing.
Members who had been on
the South African Friendship Tour in 2003 had yet another opportunity
to reminisce as we were invited to a
breakfast reunion by Barbara Hale (Western Australia member) – this
was delightful and coincided with the birthday of Ati Blom from the
Netherlands. We also visited the University where we held our workshops
and we enjoyed an Australian evening held at the Art Gallery. On
the final day, after the Council meeting, I went off with a group
to Fremantle to meet with the PR Manager of the Ports Authority who
introduced her organization to us and shared information regarding “women
in business”. They are keen to develop a waterfront; I believe
they have visited Cape Town as part of their investigations. Naturally,
on the day of our first taste of freedom, it also poured with rain!
We were particularly conscious of this example of “Murphy’s
Law” as most of the days during conference had been cool but
I had previously toured
Australia extensively and, having just a short time available,
I decided to remain in Perth and explore its
environs. I therefore, unfortunately, did not participate in any
post conference activities arranged by both Australian and New Zealand
members. What this meant was my doing a 5 hour trip down south to
the Tree Top Walk in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park – the
Valley of the Giant Tingle Trees. The walk has been constructed through
the canopy of the forest and at its highest point the 600m long bridge
is around 40 metres above the forest floor. One then also walks on
the forest floor to really appreciate the height of these towering
trees and appreciate their very unusual structure. The trees have
a very shallow root system so the trunk splits into buttresses to
secure the tree as it grows to its great height. I must mention that
this area has a high water table and receives a considerable amount
of rain so the eucalyptus are truly in their element! Then we were
on to Albany, the first colonial settlement in Western Australia
(30 months before Perth) in 1826. It was a “wild whaling port” and
has a rugged coastline. On the way to Albany we saw a section of
the coastline which was originally attached to Antarctica (in the
days of Gondwanaland) – and then five hours back to Perth!
The following day I went
off to the east, through York, the oldest inland town, to see Wave
Rock and the environs of Hyden near Kalgoorlie.
We were met by an Aboriginal expert who explained the significance
and history of the area. This was fascinating. Wave Rock is 50 metres
high and thought to be 2 700 million years old and the shape has
been created over time through erosion and climatic conditions. The
striking colours in the rock vary according to rain patterns when
the minerals leech out. This rock became world famous only in the
1970’s after a Canadian sent his photo to the National Geographic
The so-called “hippo” rock (certainly not a translation
from the aboriginal name as no hippos ever roamed here) was a “birthing” cave
which women would enter to escape the evil spirits which they believed
inhabited the area. The cave was used also for “rebirthing” of
clans people who had been “shunned” by the clan but who
wanted to be reinstated. They would enter through a small opening
at the back of the cave and then exit through the main opening.
Perth, itself, is delightful. With a Mediterranean climate it is,
of course, similar to Cape Town. While preserving historical buildings
(although not always using them fully), it is a very modern city.
I was intrigued to find, in Kings Park, a monument honouring the
centenary of women’s suffrage in Australia. Along the path
leading to it were inlaid the names of Western Australian women’s
organizations. Very special.
There is a very caring
attitude evident for its citizens and a really good public transport
system. The latter is being expanded to the
south where there are huge developments taking place, creating more
marina style residential areas – but a number of locals are
not too sure about this expansion. However, I was amazed to discover
that Western Australia, although comprising 30% of the continent’s
land mass, has only 1. 6 million inhabitants, 1.4 million of whom
live in Perth!
The joys of a small population with a high employment rate and therefore
a good tax base!
on her election as the incoming FUWA President
(Federation of University Women of Africa)
REPORT ON THE COMMUNICATIONS WORKSHOP
Cape Town Branch
This workshop formed part of the Young Members programme. Members
from different countries shared with one another how the branches
in their own countries communicate with each other. Communication
strategies included newsletters, bookmarks to promote organizations
and the internet.
We were also told how to use the IFUW website and were shown other
websites we could use to communicate with other women organizations.
Some of the websites included: Business and Professional Women International,
International Council of Women and NGO Committee on UNICEF and Working
Group on Girls.
We were also informed about the IFUW Communication Plan. The objectives
of this plan are:
Growth – membership growth through better marketing and NFA
Involvement – increased member satisfaction and involvement
Recognition – positioning of IFUW as a major force for education
and gender equity worldwide.
Leverage – increased effectiveness of actions and use of resources
within the organization.
The IFUW Strategic Plan focused on areas such as membership development,
transparency, focus and strengthening of programmes and organizational
capacity building. Many counties indicated that their membership
was dwindling and they found difficulty in recruiting young members.
It was an interesting workshop as it made one realize that all countries
need to improve their communication strategies.
Griselda Kenyon (Britain) on her election
as the incoming President,
Reiko Aoki (Japan) for her leadership
provided over the past three years.
Peggy Bowen Impson; email@example.com
: Hazel Bowen; Dr Shirley Churms