HERI’s Deputy Director Professor Rebecca Ackermann celebrated the culmination of Women’s Month by being awarded one of Mail & Guardian’s Women Changing South Africa 2019.
Ackermann was given the honour for her achievements in “creating policies and spaces to eradicate the barriers that women — especially black women — face in science, education and research”.
In South Africa, where only 39% of science researchers are women, the Mail & Guardian praised Ackermann’s input in the fields of palaeoanthropology, evolutionary biology, geology and archaeology as “invaluable”.
Highlighting her role as a professor in the UCT Department of Archaeology, and as deputy dean of transformation in the faculty of science, there was also mention of her work with HERI. Specifically, it spotlighted HERI’s bursaries and scholarships for black women and its women’s field camps.
The camps, held over Women’s Day weekend, gave young women training in common field work. It also included a workshop led by Ackermann that addressed sexual harassment in field-based sciences.
With recent violence against women and harassment taking centre stage in South Africa, Ackermann says there is no better moment to address these issues.
“Violence against women, misogyny, sexual harassment – these are all huge problems in our society, and we all need to double down on uplifting women and fighting for their rights to exist and thrive in all spaces,” she says. “HERI is deeply committed to this, and so am I.”