NWU alumnus advocates for gender equality
“South Africa’s success – as a non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and united country – can only truly be measured against the quality of life of its women.”
This is according to Vincent Kheswa, an alumnus of the North-West University (NWU) and the author of the book, Is South Africa Ready For a Female President? History of African Female Leaders. The book is to be launched on 19 April 2018 in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
According to Vincent, female leaders are still subjected to stereotypical gender-based beliefs despite South Africa’s modern view on gender equality. “I am of the opinion that stereotyping undermines the potential of female leaders to succeed,” says Vincent and adds that there is no doubt in his mind that as a group, women bring unique skills sets and perspectives to all spheres of society – be it in communities, industry, corporate business or government. His interest in female leadership was sparked when the possibility of having a female president in South Africa first emerged a few years ago.
“The fact that we as a country was still debating whether or not a female president will be suitable for office, made me realise that there is still a lot of uneasy feelings pertaining to gender equity,” explains Vincent. He then took it upon himself to share his research on female leaders, within the African context, on social media. “To my surprise, the feedback indicated that the majority of social media users were unaware of these female leaders, and as such did not realise the impact of their leadership.” Vincent explains that during the course of history, men and women played different leading roles, based primarily on gender classification: men were leaders and providers and, women were nurturers and homemakers.
It is, according to Vincent, of cardinal importance that people in modern society not be “pigeon-holed” in to stereotypical roles. “A woman’s place should be wherever she chooses to be. Embracing gender equality ensures that resources are harnessed successfully to the benefit of society and that optimal opportunities are available for both men and women to engage in decision making,” states Vincent.
* Vincent graduated from the NWU’s campus in Vanderbijlpark with a BSc degree in business mathematics and informatics and is currently a coder for Standard Bank in the Personal Business Banking South Africa division. He enjoys acclaim as a poet, a writer, a public speaker, a songwriter and a recording artist. Vincent is also a member of the Vanderbijlpark campus’ Alumni Advisory Committee.
Vincent Kheswa, an NWU alumnus, is a proud advocate for gender equality.