Prof Linda du Plessis shares her dreams, wishes and convictions for all women in celebration of Women’s Month
In celebration of Women’s Month, Prof Linda du Plessis - Campus Rector (acting) of the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal), wishes to share the following message with the women – young and old, of South Africa:
In Women’s Month, I can’t help thinking back to the women in history that paved the way for women in their communities and humanity at large: Helen Joseph, Nadine Gordimer and Albertina Sisulu. These ladies have set the scene to enable us to make an impact wherever we may find ourselves. On the Vaal Triangle Campus this includes being an ambassador of unity and transformation – such as our beautiful Miss NWU Vaal, managers leading dynamic teams, leadership representatives sustaining boardroom negotiations, researchers at the forefront of innovation and significance, the mom-away from-home serving as a houseparent to our residence students and, the sister-she-never-had as a member of one of the residence house committees.
We live in a country where poverty, illness and crime continue to affect so many lives every day. We live in an era where women have many different roles to fulfil: Wife, mother, grandmother, breadwinner, community leader, protector and activist. I believe that women can only fulfil these roles effectively and efficiently, with an education to guide their way. According to the Let Girls Learn initiative, there are 62 million girls globally who are not in school due to a variety of reasons, while a significant number of adolescent girls enrolled in school are battling to complete their education. In some countries, fewer than 10% of teenage girls complete secondary school.
While the situation in South Africa certainly looks better, there are still huge challenges that our children and especially our girls face. According to UNICEF, in South Africa 96% of children aged 7-13 are enrolled in primary education. Only 70% of children aged 14-17 go to secondary school. A total of 10.2% of young South Africans aged 15-24 are infected with HIV. Girls and women are four times more likely to be HIV-positive than boys and men.
It was Greg Mortenson who said: “If you teach a boy, you educate an individual; but if you teach a girl, you educate a community.”
My wish is for every woman associated with our campus is that they will enjoy a blessed Women’s Day and truly realize what an important role they fulfil every day – on campus and in their respective communities. My dream is for every girl in our community and country to have access to a quality education and for that girl to make the most of the opportunities that come her way. My belief is that this is the way that we can - no we will, change the world!
|Prof Linda du Plessis|