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31 August 2018
More Amazing UWC Women 2018: Women In Law

This Women’s Month commemorates the 42nd anniversary of that fateful protest when four brave women led over 20 000 women of all races, and from every corner of South Africa, in a march to the Union Buildings to present a petition against the carrying of passbooks by women.

But that isn’t the only time women have used their skills, drive and determination to challenge a corrupt government or to campaign for more just laws. At the University of the Western Cape, many women have been involved in creating a better life for all through their legal acumen.

That’s why this Women’s Month, UWC is honouring some of those extraordinary women - women like...

Samantha Waterhouse: We have many good laws on women’s rights, but the majority of women’s lives have not changed. Structural discrimination and violence persist, and patriarchal values dominate women’s lives at home, in communities and in society broadly. Samantha Waterhouse is a tireless advocate for women's rights at the Dullah Omar Institute, both as the Project Head of the Women and Democracy Initiative and as co-driver of influential campaigns such as Parliament Watch and #NotOurLeaders, exposing lacklustre approaches in political circles to sexual harassment. She is passionate about complementing - not capturing - civil society initiatives with applied research and capacity building.
Virginia Brookes: Managing academic and outreach projects and sourcing funding for them, is a challenging task - which is why the Dullah Omar Institute is fortunate to have the guidance of Chief Operations Manager Virginia Brookes, a formidable figure with decades of experience at UWC. Brooks has a B Com (Hons) from UWC, and commands the Dullah Omar Institute’s 30 Million Rand budget, sourced from more than fifteen national and international donors and processed through more than 50 cost entities. She is a resource for many other NGOs too, such as the Surplus Peoples' Project, where she is a board member. For the last couple of years, she has also been training financial management to NGOs and CBOs on a part-time basis.
Julia Sloth-Nielsen: Children are, quite literally, the future of humanity - and they have the right to receive the chance to reach their potential. Prof Julia Sloth-Nielsen, former Dean of Law at UWC, conducts research and teaches on children’s rights, international family law and child justice, and has consulted on children’s law and policy in many African countries. She was a member of the project committee of the South African Law Commission which drafted the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 and the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. An NRF-rated researcher, Prof Sloth-Nielsen also has a broader interest in family law..
Kitty Malherbe: In South Africa (and elsewhere) few areas of law are as contentious - or as important - as labour law - as Prof Kitty Malherbe knows well. Prof Malherbe teaches undergraduates and postgraduates, and conducts research on Labour Law and Social Security Law.. She has published on the social security rights of older persons, persons with disability and domestic workers. She is the co-editor of Labour Law Into the Future: Essays in Honour of Darcy du Toit. She is a member of the niche area in the Department of Mercantile and Labour Law on Labour Law in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Najma Moosa: With over thirty years of history at UWC’s Faculty of Law, Najma Moosa has been an alumna, a tutor, a lecturer, a head of department, a Dean (the first female Dean of the Faculty), and currently serves as senior professor of law. She has been the recipient of many teaching and research awards, including the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Her area of research expertise is law and religion from a constitutional, human rights and gender law perspective, with a focus on Muslim personal law. She was part of the team responsible for drafting legislation pertaining to the recognition of Muslim marriages.
Letetia van der Poll: Letetia van der Poll is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence, where she specialises in public international law, international humanitarian law, feminist jurisprudence, women’s rights and gender. Prof van der Poll has published and presented regularly on armed conflict, gender, and women’s rights in local and international journals and conferences. Her research focuses particularly on the construction of (female) sexuality and the impact of (traditional) sex practices and sexually explicit images (pornography) on sexuality, human rights and (female) identity within an African context.

And That’s Not All...

These aren’t the only amazing women at the University of the Western Cape - far from it. Do you know any other incredible UWC ladies? Women who’ve excelled at their sports, performed world-changing research, created amazing art, or helped other people succeed?

Well, just contact the Department for Institutional Advancement at or 021 959 9566 and let us know who we’ve missed...and we’ll tell the rest of the world!