About Us


Despite women constituting well over 50% of the higher education workforce in South Africa, a survey in 2007 revealed that only 3 of the 23 Vice-Chancellors and 5 of the 23 Registrars were women, while women comprised 21% of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors and 21% of the Executive Directors. Statistics show a similar pattern in other parts of Africa, including countries linked to the HERS-SA network: Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. 

In the South African context, despite employment equity legislation and the articulated priorities of the Department of Education, the highest proportion of women occupy the lowest occupational levels in support departments, and are similarly underrepresented  in senior academic positions.  Women remain underrepresented in the field of permanent academic staff as they comprise only 43% of the total compliment in public higher education institutions. This inequity is most apparent in senior academic positions where only 18.5% of women are professors and 29.8% associate professors (Riordan & Louw-Potgieter: 2011). Although the number of National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researchers who are women has risen from 18% in 2002 to 29% in 2011,  men still publish more journal articles with women only authoring 14% - 37% of the published papers,  which is further influenced by the discipline in question (John, 2012).

To address the need for gender equity in higher education, HERS-SA’s objectives are to:

  • Develop and offer accessible education, training and development programmes for women working in this sector. 
  • Empower women to take leadership positions in higher education institutions in South Africa, thereby providing much needed leadership role models for women.
  • Provide programmes that develop strong leadership qualities and practices in women leaders in higher education;
  • Encourage networking amongst women.
  • Challenge institutional culture and facilitate workplace change, thereby addressing gender inequity and enabling women to participate fully in the workforce.

We urge HERS-SA alumnae to keep in touch with us by attending our mini-Academy, visiting this website and by regularly updating changes in their career movement and personal details.  We will proudly feature achievements of our alumnae on this website's Movers and Shakers page.  We can also assist our Alumnae to keep in touch with their classmates, so contact us for assistance.

From 2015 onwards, all news, announcements and information is shared with our stakeholders via the HERS-SA Facebook page.  Please visit and  like the HERS-SA Facebook page to receive alerts and news from HERS-SA.  Also feel free to share news with us by either posting on our Facebook page or by sending us the information via our website using the "Contact Us" tab.

Up to 2014 electronic newsletters were sent to all HERS-SA Alumnae and Stakeholders, and the newsletters can be accessed on this site on the NEWS web-page.