UCT Chancellor Mrs Graça Machel believes there is not enough outrage concerning violence against women.
"It strikes me that our society is not outraged about this violence. We know it exists and is a problem, but we don't see the same kind of outrage that says, 'This cannot continue'," Machel stated as she opened a discussion, in which Chilean President Michelle Bachelet participated, and which formed part of the Twelfth Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture Series.
Machel hosted the event, titled Gender in Dialogue, which saw prominent proponents of gender equity, such as feminist writer Nombonisa Gasa, Sonke Gender Justice activist Mbuyiselo Botha and UCT researcher Zethu Matebeni, address a packed Jameson Hall on 10 August.
The event was organised in partnership with UCT's Africa Gender Institute.
Machel described violence against women as a global phenomenon, where women "are being killed at the hands of those (men) who claim to love them, should protect them and should be proud of their success".
Bachelet agreed with this assessment adding that "equal, inclusive and harmonic development is not possible in the world if we don't put gender equality at the top of the list of challenges that we states, NGOs and universities of the world must address".
Like Machel she recognised that the legal framework set up to address gender parity is not adequate. "We need to have a comprehensive approach. We need to deal with many difficult and different things," Bachelet explained.
She called for a change in culture, which would generate the right conditions in which women can make decisions that would affect every aspect of their lives. "We also need powerful women in leading positions to serve as role models to other women". Furthermore she believes that education is essential to the political, economic and social empowerment of women.
More coverage of the Gender-in-Dialogue event in the August edition of Monday Monthly (available online from 18 August 2014).
Story by Abigail Calata. Image by Je'nine May.
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