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Advancing gender and leadership in higher education

- Wits University

A group of ten Wits University staff and students recently attended the Afretec Gender in STEM Workshop in Kigali, Rwanda.

Hosted by the University of Rwanda and Carnegie Mellon University-Africa, the workshop that took place from 19 – 21 February 2024, addressed the importance of inclusion in the STEM sector.

Afretec Gender in STEM Workshop in Kigali, Rwanda.

Rodney Genga, Associate Professor in Wits’ Academic Development Unit, and Professor Samuel Laryea, Head of the School of Construction Economics and Management at Wits, led a session on Professional Development and Career advancement.

Wits PhD student Alisha Badal presented an excellent paper on Strategies for Successful Grant Writing and Research Funding.

In her address, Professor Ruksana Osman, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic at Wits, highlighted the importance of Women in Academic Leadership.

Professors Lizelle Van Dyk and Mary Evans participated in a panel discussion on Work-Life balance and navigating challenges in academia while Boitumelo Moletsane and Sphamandla Zulu presented on Building Effective Mentorship and Networking Relationships.

Wits members of the Afretec Inclusion and Diversity Pillar, Dr Nokulunga Ndlovu and Professor Heila Jordaan (Wits Afretec Programme Manager) acted as moderator and MC respectively.

The workshop was also attended by representatives of the five other partner universities in the Afretec Network, a pan-African collaboration of technology-focused universities, and issues of common concern for women in STEM and in academia were discussed and solutions sought.

For more information contact Wits Afretec Project Manager, Professor Heila Jordaan, at

About the Afretec Network

Afretec seeks to develop inclusive technology leaders who will lead the projects, start the companies, and provide the capacity in both the private and public sectors to drive inclusive digital transformation and the creation of thousands of dignified jobs.

The Network focuses on the rapidly developing information and communication technologies (ICT) that support advances in education, agriculture, health, government, and more (edtech, agtech, mhealth, egovernment, etc.) and enable inclusive digital transformation throughout African economies and societies.

In line with the goals of Afretec the network consists of 4 pillars:

  • Knowledge Creation
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Build Entrepreneurship
  • Inclusion and Diversity

Universities in the Afretec Network:

  • Carnegie Mellon University Africa
  • University of Rwanda
  • University of Lagos
  • American University in Cairo
  • University of Nairobi
  • University of the Witwatersrand