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Features

Perdebate: Do successful women intimidate men

Katherine Atkinson
The way our society functions is forever changing. The feminist movement has ensured that women of today enjoy many more rights than women from the past.  The 21st century has seen an emergence of women who dominate academia and the workplace. In fact, Huffington Post says that women have begun to surpass men in many spheres and that the female population has “more master’s and college degrees” and “better GPA’s” than the male population. Further, it is estimated that by 2025 “more than half the primary breadwinners in America will be women.” 

Despite this female emergence, patriarchy and misogyny can still be seen today. Newsweek reported that on International Women’s Day 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked women for their “beauty and tenderness”. He continued to say that “only women can create a welcoming atmosphere at work and at home, take care of our homes and children and be a moral example to them.” Since he is ranked as number one on Forbes’ The World’s Most Powerful People list, and is therefore very influential, Putin’s statements could contribute to shaping ideologies within society.
Kate Manne, a Cornell philosophy professor and author, describes misogyny as the “law enforcement branch or patriarchy” which “polices and punishes women who transgress or threaten dominant men”. Manne argues that misogynistic views are still observed today because men are intimidated by high-achieving women as these women challenge a man’s place in society. Since this is a contested and ongoing debate, Perdeby asked both students and lecturers at UP to see whether they think that high-achieving women intimidate men.

 

Tseleng Tshabalala (BA Visual Studies)
It honestly depends on the male individual because among many other things, socio-cultural context influences these perceptions. From what I have seen in my male peers is that they prefer the assertive woman which is the successful, business orientated woman and the reason is simple, as much as women want that from men they also want a woman who can hold her own. However, when [it] comes to romantic relationships they would prefer a woman who can balance both those spheres. Assertive people intimidate weak-minded, passive people regardless of sex

 

Nicholas De Decker (BA Law)
I believe that a man’s approach to women, their standing in society and the subsequent respect accorded to them is shaped by early exposure in life. Unlike many, my mother was able to attain a degree and perform the domestic tasks of raising children. I have therefore been heavily influenced by my mother and her competence and strive to embody this respect for her and other women in my actions. Sadly, [while] many men pay lip service to the concept of work-place equality, the reality places increased pressure on already limited job opportunities. Many are willing to entertain an isolated female presence, but not a flood. We must be careful though, as pitting a career driven woman against a domestic causes division amongst women themselves. Each side becomes defensive, in turn disempowering their life choice. There is no “better” it depends on the context, circumstance and personality of the woman. The most important criterion is competence, whether it is in raising a family, starting a business, climbing the corporate ladder or both.

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Competition or collaboration: group work woes

Mosa Mgabhi

Individual assessments are common in university, however, also of importance are group assessments as they can be a powerful and effective way to learn.

A guide written by Cynthia J. Brame and Rachel Biel for Vanderbilt University reveals that the use of cooperative learning groups is based on the principle of constructivism which rests upon the idea that “individuals learn through building their own knowledge, connecting new ideas and experiences to existing knowledge and experiences to form new or enhanced understanding”. The guide suggests that cooperative learning follows the notion that small groups are important because students can be heard and hear their peers.

There are various reasons in favour of group work; an infographic by Monash University titled “A guide to group and teamwork” lists the advantages of team work are that a team can produce much more comprehensive or complex work, individuals learn more when working with each other, and that team work “develops decision-making and problem solving skills, project management and organisational skills as well as conflict resolution skills”. However, it also highlights the disadvantages of group work as that “group members might have conflicting ideas or viewpoints and that they may not contribute equally”. The infographic recommends that students need to be patient, committed, conduct productive meetings and communicate well to achieve optimum results for their efforts.

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Land expropriation debate

Katherine Atkinson

On Tuesday 27 February, the majority of South Africa’s Members of Parliament voted in favour of amending the Constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation. The vote came after the EFF presented Parliament with a draft amendment and argued for an ad-hoc review committee to be set up by the National Assembly to initiate the process. The EFF argued that section 25 of the Constitution has made it impossible for those dispossessed of their land during the apartheid era to get justice. The Constitutional Review Committee will now “review and amend section 25 of the Constitution to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation”. According to News24, the National Assembly has given the Review Committee until 30 August to report back on its work. News24 reports that it is unclear whether the ANC will transfer all land to the state after expropriation, but if they adopt the EFF’s policy then this would be the case. However, the ANC’s conference declaration says that they intend on expropriating land without destabilising the agricultural sector, without endangering food security and without undermining economic growth, therefore, it seems that the ANC might “focus on specific pieces of land that will be used for land reform projects” reports News24.

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The need for postgraduate funding

Mosa Mgabhi

Postgraduate degrees are progressively becoming the standard for excellence among employers, professional organisations and colleagues as they can be indicative of superior ability. Postgrad.com, a website concerned with providing a portal for different students seeking information on postgraduate related courses across the globe, points out that postgraduate education provides “professional credibility [and] develops important transferable skills”.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation at the University of Cape Town, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, expressed in an article she wrote for Mail & Guardian, that for South Africa’s economy to grow, new businesses and professional sectors need to develop and become areas in which “South Africans can apply their skills and engage in problem-solving that can have a global impact.” She insists that postgraduate studies have practical contributions to the growth of our economy and knowledge and that South Africa needs to be globally competitive and make its mark through research that seeks to address specific problems in technology, health, science, media, law, business and social welfare.

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Combatting school violence

 

GEMMA GATTICCHI

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was the latest target in one of the most brutal school shootings the United States has seen. 19 year-old Nikolas Cruz entered the school armed with a semi-automatic rifle, gas mask, multiple magazines of ammunition and smoke grenades. He proceeded to shoot students and teachers in the hallway of the school. He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, all just a week before his dismissal from the school for “disciplinary reasons”.

South Africa faces its own problems with violence involving weapons at schools. This kind of violence might not take place on as grand a scale as the USA, but it is present and it remains a problem. The National Schools Violence Study (NSVS) undertaken by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP) indicates that three in ten secondary learners know of a fellow learner who has brought a weapon to school. National Professional Teacher's Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), executive director, Basil Manuel says, “Our children’s lives are peppered with violence, either in the homes or on the streets, as a nation, we have simply not dealt with our violent past and the impact of societal violence on our children.”

Places like schools or churches are targeted because they are associated with a sense of belonging, to each other or to a group while the shooters probably felt out of place and alone. Psychologist, Dr Peter Langman says that school shooters often leave many signs; they talk about their plans with their friends and encourage them to join in. Roger Depue, veteran of the FBI, emphasised that some warning signs carry more weight than others. For instance, a fascination with, and possession of firearms, is more significant than simply being a loner, because possession of firearms gives one the capacity to carry out an attack. However, if a person simply possesses firearms and has no other warning signs, it is unlikely that he represents a significant risk of danger. It is only when multiple indicators is present that the risk becomes more serious.

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