Passing the candle of confidence

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Vatiswa September passes the flame for female leadership to Lindelwa Liwani at the seminar for female principals held by the DBE on 17 August. Photo: Supplied

Gender issues have been highlighted in many ways in education this month. Schools across town participated in the Rhodes silent protest week. VGhs has been the leader in this initiative for many years, and this year more schools participated than ever before. The lecture series was also delivered in two different venues this year with four talks for learners being hosted at Nombulelo thanks to collaboration between the Rhodes community outreach and Jonathan Hellemann the head of Life Orientation of Nombulelo. Schools brought up to 30 learners per talk. All school SGBs were also invited to a talk on Gender, Masculinities and Rape.

On 17 August, the Department of Basic Education hosted a programme for women principals. This included an analysis of research highlighting the challenges facing women leaders in particular, such as the fact the women are expected to be more participatory and democratic in their leadership style than men and experience pushback when this expectation is not met.

The department also urged principals to form support groups and host conversations and speakers around the issue of leadership in education on a quarterly basis. Officials highlighted the fact that while 68% of the teaching profession is female, only 37% of principals are female. Principals were encouraged to nurture female leadership within their schools. The proceedings concluded with a candle-lighting ceremony symbolising the passing of confidence, support and leadership skills envisaged by the initiative.

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