Dr René Ferguson – University of Witwatersrand Department of Social and Economic Sciences
Dr. Ferguson’s work focuses on teacher education with an emphasis on life orientation subject matters. Life orientation studies form part of the national school curriculum in South Africa and aims to equip learners with essential life skills, which promote personal, social, and intellectual development to be functional members of society.
Gender stereotypes, inequality, inadequate information on reproductive health, gender-based violence and economic empowerment are issues that impact women. Unfortunately, sometimes these perspectives are normalised in society. Some of the university’s programs incorporate gender related issues, such as personal development, self-awareness, self-actualisation, women in sport, democracy and women’s rights.
The legacy of patriarchy still impacts South African society, and its overtones are also felt in religious contexts. For some women growing up in a patriarchal society shaped their worldviews to the extent that they defend the system, because it was their lived experience. For other women the realisation that there are alternative ways of seeing the world, has opened the possibility that they can achieve what they want and not be denied their dreams because of their gender. We remark on the importance of education for women, that it is a crucial tool to achieving independence and purpose in life.
Dr. Ferguson reminds us that we may be individuals, but we are part of the collective an each of us has the responsibility to contribute positively to the lives of others and greater society.
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