Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

SA universities’ professoriate needs more women but fares adequately by global standards

Arguably, there are too few women professors at local universities – but the picture looks even bleaker at some overseas institutions.

Only 13.7% of the professors at Nagoya University in Japan are women and 15.4% at Sao Paulo University in Brazil. In comparison, at least one out of three professors at several South African universities are women.

According to figures supplied to the Mail & Guardian by eight of the country’s 26 universities, 275 out of the 866 full professors and 329 out of the 817 associate professors are women.

The number of women in the professoriate at Unisa is encouraging. At least 107 of the 317 full professors and 125 of the 246 associate professors are women.

Figures for women who are full professors and associate professors at some of the other institutions include:

  • University of the Western Cape (UWC): 48 and 48;
  • Stellenbosch University: 60 and 62;
  • North-West University: 47 and 73;
  • Vaal University of Technology (VUT): 2 and 0;
  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT): 9 and 17;
  • Tshwane University of Technology (TUT): 2 and 2; and
  • Sol Plaatje University: 0 and 2.

Female representation in executive management teams at some universities also show signs of improvement. At UWC, there are an equal number of men and women on the executive management committee.

Sol Plaatje University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Yunus Ballim, said there were three members on his executive team but none were women.

“We are insistent that our first deputy vice-chancellor appointee be a woman. We are starting with development initiatives to promote women academics,” he said.

At CPUT, three of the nine members of the executive management committee are women, as are 21 of the 76 members of the senior leadership at the University of Cape Town.

Female executives at other institutions include:

  • Three of the 10 at North West University;
  • Three of the seven at Unisa;
  • One of the 11 at TUT;
  • Three of the 17 at VUT; and
  • Seven of the 16 at Stellenbosch University.

North-West University said the equitable representation of women was being guided by its approved employment equity plan.

Stellenbosch University said it ensures that set targets for the professoriate and management level are included in the workforce plans of all faculties and divisions.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories


Subscribers only

‘People feel they have a stake in SAA’ — Gidon...

Interest in the beleaguered national carrier, which has received billions of rands in public funding, means criticism is inevitable

Soweto teacher dismissed for the alleged repeated rape of a...

The learner was 13 when the alleged rapes started, and they continued for two years until she asked to be moved to another school

More top stories

Hospitals near capacity: What the new Covid-19 restrictions mean for...

After a dramatic surge in Covid-19 infections, President Ramaphosa has brought the country back to level three restrictions

Eskom to take over distribution, billing at troubled Free State...

The Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality owes the power utility more than R5-billion

ANC committed to paying staff salaries, but employees are not...

ANC staffers picketed outside Luthuli House on Tuesday after months of problems with salary payments

Kanalelo Boloetsi: Taking on Lesotho’s cellphone giants, and winning

A man who took on cellphone data regulators over out-of-bundle rates is featured in this edition of a series on human rights defenders in the SADC region

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…