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Gender Equity Office Vacancy

- Lee-Anne Bruce

Job Title: Director - Gender Equity Office

The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) has committed itself to providing a safe institutional environment where all may learn, work and go about their duties and activities free from all forms of gender-based harm, including sexual harassment, sexual violence and sexism. Sexual harassment, sexual violence and sexism constitute serious disciplinary offences that undermine the dignity and autonomy of those victimised, and erode the academic project.

It is against this background that, in line with the recommendations of the Independent Inquiry into Allegations of Sexual Harassment at the University of the Witwatersrand, in February 2013 the Gender Equity Office was established as a standalone office to deal comprehensively and professionally with gender-based harm on campus by:

  • Compiling, monitoring and analysing gender-based harm complaints from across the university;
  • Providing dedicated support – including professional counselling – to complainants and victims of gender-based harm;
  • Discussing options for support and redress including, where relevant, disciplinary processes where the perpetrator is a Wits staff member or student;
  • Managing independent hearing panels for disciplinary processes under a new, gender-sensitive procedure for gender-related misconduct;
  • Developing appropriate policies and procedures for dealing with gender-based harm on campus; and
  • Undertaking sustained and informed proactive advocacy interventions across campus to raise awareness about gender-based harm and advance gender equality.

The University now seeks to appoint a new Director for the GEO with expertise in law and/or gender and/or power relations and/or social justice. The position is an academic position, with a 50% secondment to the GEO. It is also possible that the candidate may be an academic from another institution but take up this position as a professional staff member on a fulltime basis. 

The Director will be responsible for the following key performance areas:

  • Providing leadership and operational management to GEO, including managing three full-time staff members;
  • Providing strategic leadership of gender-based harm-related issues on campus;  
  • Acting as the custodian and advocate of relevant university policies and procedures relating to combatting GBH;
  • Representing GEO at various University meetings and forums and providing regular reports about GEO’s work to all relevant University structures including University Forum, Senior Management Group, and the Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee (SHAC);
  • Playing a supporting role to the Chair of SHAC, and to the Vice Chancellor in terms of the UN Women HeForShe University IMPACT Champion mandate;
  • Coordinating the University’s UN HeForShe internal commitments;
  • Engaging with stakeholders regarding optimizing proactive and reactive GBH-related interventions;
  • Maintaining an up-to-date and accurate complaints database;
  • Managing gender-based harm-related complaints and cases on behalf of complainants;
  • Overseeing the intervention, investigation and finalization of gender-based harm-related complaints;
  • Managing the advocacy and prevention work of GEO; and
  • Preferably conducting applied research in the area of gender-based harm and contributing to relevant research outputs, presenting relevant conference papers and conducting teaching as appropriate in any related academic area.

Minimum appointment criteria:

  • Advanced degree or postgraduate qualification (ideally a Master’s degree) in law, humanities or associated disciplines;
  • At least five years’ experience in matters pertaining to gender, including activities such as research, advocacy or litigation;
  • Substantial experience in social justice, lawyering or an equivalent field, as well as an understanding of the psycho-social impact of gender-based harm and/or violence;
  • Proven ability to run and/or oversee litigation;
  • Experience in advocacy and management, and, ideally, proven experience of operating within a matrix of reporting structures;
  • High levels of independent thinking, as well as demonstrated communication and conflict resolution skills;
  • An understanding of the higher education landscape regulating social cohesion and university governance;
  • Preferably be an academic – if so, the appointment will be made as a 50 percent appointment with the other 50 per cent being a teaching appointment in the appropriate field. Candidates who are not from academic ranks must have a professional registration with a related, recognised South African Association.


The position is envisaged as a two-year fixed term position. An attractive remuneration package is offered commensurate with the seniority of the position. 


Further information about the position is available from Associate Professor Bonita Meyersfeld at

To apply

Submit a detailed CV with the names and contact details of 3 referees; certified copies of degrees and diplomas; and a covering letter motivating your application via the online recruitment portal located at

The closing date is 16 November 2016