Higher Education Women Leaders Awards Call For Nominations

HERS-SA (Higher Education Resource Services – South Africa) calls upon you to nominate South African Higher Education Women Leaders for its inaugural awards, aimed to be an annual event celebrating extraordinary women leaders making a positive impact in and outside their universities. The awards recognise nationally the achievement of women who lead, inspire, and motivate those in and outside their institutions to be more and do more. It is aimed to inspire and attract new leadership talent to the sector, thus creating role models and advancing gender transformation and creating visibility for higher education women leaders in South Africa.

In South Africa’s higher education, whilst there are many awards none have fully recognised women leaders nationally for their role and contribution as leaders and for the development of the country. It is for these reasons that HERS-SA has created these seven categories, which are:

a) Lifetime Achiever

A special award recognising an outstanding contribution to the higher education sector. The nominee must have at least, 10 years of devoted active service in the higher education sector. They should have made tangible contributions to the HE Sector. They are women with exceptional achievements against all odds.

b) Trailblazer

A woman leader who understands the importance of lifting as they rise and actively champions the empowerment of women and students. This will recognise women with a consistent track record of supporting other women in the HE sectors for at least, 5 years. These are women who are secure in themselves. Strong enough to support others to thrive – not feel threatened by others’ growth.

c) Humanitarian

This person goes above and beyond the requirements of his or her position changing the lives of women and the broader community in need with no expectation of compensation or compliments. The work of these women speaks for them. They are selfless in their services within and outside of the HE Sector.

d) Women in STEM

Celebrates and recognise the incredible women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Women that excel in their disciplinary fields in science. Innovations and other STEM achievement, capacity development initiatives in STEM, innovative learning and teaching practices in STEM and community engagement activities.

e) Women in Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS)

Celebrates and recognises women leaders, and incredible work in humanities and social sciences. Women that excel in their disciplinary fields in HSS. Innovations and other HSS achievements, capacity development initiatives in HSS, innovative learning and teaching practices in HSS and community engagement activities.

f) Women in Academic Administration

Honours a woman leader who has excelled in leadership over a period of time. A minimum of a 5-year service in the HE sectors. The nominees must be in the academic administration space. Innovative interventions/practices that enhance institutional performance, peer-mentoring evidence, and community engagement activities (e.g., school visits, mentoring, after-school projects for the underprivileged, etc) may be recognised in this category.

g) Emerging Young Women Leaders

Recognises an under-40-woman leader who is making an excellent contribution as a leader, with less than 10 years in a leadership role. Exceptional young leaders with at least 2 years in the HE sectors. They may be academic or non-academic personnel in the HE industry. Their career trajectory suggests an impactful career for them and other women in the sector.
For each category, there will be three finalists to be announced in August.


Nominate your winning leader by completing the nomination form provided on our website. Applications close on the 10th of June 2023; the finalist will be announced in August and the winners will be announced at a gala event on the 7th of September 2023 in Cape Town.

Anyone can attend the awards. The Awards are the perfect place to network with university leaders and leaders from other sectors – including the executives from sponsor organisations. For advertising and sponsorship inquiries, please contact email director@hers-sa.org.za