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IN light of International Women’s day having been on 8 March, several events took place highlighting issues relating to gender and gender-based violence.

One of these events included a collaboration between the Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) and Student Affairs to host their first annual Gender Indaba at Monica Residence on 5 March.

Groups rotated every half hour so that everyone could have a chance to participate in many different discussions and the theme was “Starting a journey of understanding”.

According to Emma Louw, BA(Law) student and SLSJ Executive Committee Outreach member, the discussion was important because “generally Stellenbosch campus is not very inclusionary to anyone who does not identify as male or female”.

Lorissa-Jane Houston, post-graduate LLM (International Trade Law) student, said, “People need to start educating themselves in areas of gender that they’re not aware of”.

“If we aren’t ready to educate ourselves, how do we expect a change to happen?” Houston said.

According to Milena Schultheiss, third year BA (Language and Culture) student and Harmonie critical engagement HK, she enjoyed the event, but discussion like these “should also take place in informal student communities, residences and PSO’s, so students can be more educated around gender”.

“I think the gender indaba can be improved in the future by involving more students in events like these. If nobody knows anything about the topic, they wouldn’t necessarily go to events like these, but if that seed was planted in student communities, then discussions will grow,” Schultheiss said.

The week culminated in a march organised by lobby group SA Women Fight Back in Athlone on Saturday, with many Stellenbosch students in attendance. This took place in light of the murders of at least four children in Cape Town over the past three weeks. The petition has over 530,000 signatures and demands that he stay true to promises he made September last year to combat gender-based violence.

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