HERS-SA’s History

The history of


Higher Education Resource Services South Africa (HERS-SA) is a self-sustaining non-profit organisation (NPO), which was registered with the Department of Social Development in September 2003. HERS-SA is dedicated to the advancement and leadership development of women in the higher education sector. As a registered NPO, HERS-SA has advocated for and contributed to the career and leadership development of women employed in the higher education sector via carefully crafted programmes. We are committed to promoting gender equity in the South African higher education sector. Our work is underpinned by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.

HERS-SA is an independent chapter of HERS Mid-America. Ongoing contact and co-operation have grown in both directions. Inspired by the American HERS programme and with the initial support of the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, HERS-SA first began offering professional development programmes for academic and Professional Administrative Support Service women in South Africa in 2000.


Organisational summary

Sarah Riordan, Desiree Simons, Penny Franz and the late Lesley Shackleton — established HERS-SA to address the shortage of women in senior positions in higher education.
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