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UWC researcher receives grant from Duchess of Sussex to promote gender equity

Author: Harriet Box

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) has become a recipient of new gender grants awarded by the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, to three South African universities to promote gender equality.

Picture: Dr. Mary Hames

(Published - 2 October 2019)

UWC, the University of Johannesburg and the University of Stellenbosch were recipients of the grants.

Dr Mary Hames, Director of the Gender Equity Unit (GEU), was at the event in Johannesburg where the grants were announced on Tuesday, 1 October 2019.

“It was a great honour for the institution to receive a grant from the Duchess of Sussex, her Royal Highness Meghan Markle, in her capacity as a patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities,” says Dr Hames.

“The grant came at an appropriate time when President Cyril Ramaphosa committed himself to the establishment of a gender equity office. This grant will ensure that we continue our efforts, and it was awarded to ensure that gender equity continues and improves at this institution that has a long and consistent history of fighting for gender equity in this country.”

Dr Hames added: “This grant will be used to review existing policies to ensure that they are gender inclusive and non-discriminatory. The same will be done for researchers and their research projects to ensure that they are non-discriminatory and gender inclusive.”

Prof Tyrone Pretorius, Rector and Vice-chancellor of UWC, said he was pleased that the University was specifically chosen and acknowledged by the Duchess of Sussex for its valuable work with promoting and enhancing gender equity.

“The University of the Western Cape established its Gender Equity Unit as far back as 1995. We are honoured to be acknowledged by her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Sussex. The grant will contribute to the groundbreaking work UWC has already done to contribute to a non-discriminatory and gender inclusive South Africa,” said Prof Pretorius.

The Duchess of Sussex was in Johannesburg as part of her and His Royal Highness Prince Harry’s Southern African tour, after spending time in Cape Town last week.

About the UWC Gender Equity Unit

The Gender Equity Unit at UWC is dedicated towards one principle: that all people are equally deserving of the right to live a full and happy life. The GEU’s activities and programmes are geared towards making sure that no one is discriminated against, harassed or hurt because of gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, and to facilitating the empowerment particularly of women and other marginalised groups, both on campus and within society at large. The GEU houses a total of 6 programmes - Loud Enuf (sexual orientation and gender identity); Edu-Drama (theatre programme against violence against women); Human Nature (Persons with disabilities); the GEU mentoring programme; Imbewu (newsletter); and the GEU food programme - all with a small staff and a few student volunteers.

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