Gillian Whitworth returns from South Africa and shares what she has learnt first-hand with the Club.
On Monday 13 July the Club was treated to an excellent report and presentation from Gillian who is studying at the University of Warwick. She recently conducted a field study on regional sustainability in South Africa. Gillian was based at the Monash University in Johannesburg and from there travelled to the project in Nelspruit. Gender inequality was identified by Gillian and the team as a serious issues affecting sustainability in South Africa – women are suffering from HIV/Aids disproportionately – girls age 15-19 make up 25% of new cases and are 5 times more likely than boys to contract the disease. Rape is estimated at 55,000 per day! – abuse is mostly “domestic”, lasts many years and is not usually reported. In terms of legal advocacy work, refugees are particularly vulnerable. Gillian said that the future for women in South Africa with massive inequality in a patriarchal society is bleak unless governments start to focus and take it seriously – both in South Africa and globally.
Next for Gillian’s final year at Warwick University is her dissertation on Violence Against Women in India – no wonder her work resonates with the Soroptimist goals and objectives!