'Varsities down on women'

22 March 2016 - 02:19 By Sipho Masombuka

Higher education institutions remain stubbornly resistant to gender transformation, with their top management male dominated and women perceived as "unproductive" or "not worthy" of senior positions.This is according to research by the Higher Education Transformation Network, which intended to question staff at North West University, Pretoria University and Tshwane University of Technology, but only TUT participated.The Commission for Gender Equality surveyed staff at all tertiary education institutions.The research found that gender transformation policies in higher education institutions were sparsely implemented and that although men were a minority within the sector, they "overwhelmingly" dominate top management and the professional-grade ranks.Javu Baloyi, the commission spokesman, said some institutions did not have gender transformation policies.He said gender transformation was moving at a snail's pace in the sector."There remains an entrenched culture of male dominance, with a clear resistance to change"Female staff at the Tshwane University of Technology said they felt they were perceived as being unproductive and undeserving of higher positions.The survey found that men were the first choice for promotions, with most senior managers being black men "who let cultural and traditional values interfere with their appointment decisions" regarding black women.The report said that the culture at most universities was antagonistic to black lecturers and women.A Higher Education Department's 2014 workforce report states that, of 17451 instruction and research staff, only 7 853 were women.

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