Equity, Diversity and Inclusion At the University of Cape Town, South Africa: The Experience of Black Women Academics

Title: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion At the University of Cape Town, South Africa: The Experience of Black Women Academics
Authors: Bonti-Ankomah, Jennifer
Date: 2020-10-05
Abstract: This thesis examines the lived experiences of Black women academics in South African universities, focusing on a case study from the University of Cape Town (UCT). Since the end of apartheid, scholars have questioned the disconnect between the goals and objectives of transformation strategies and the continued experiences of marginalization and oppression that Black women face. This study adds to this critical analysis by seeking to understand the main challenges that Black women experience in their careers and to assess how they view the transformation agenda, more commonly known outside of South Africa as equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives. This thesis adopts an intersectional lens to study the experience of Black women, drawing on critical race theory and Black feminist thought. The analysis is based on semi-structured interviews with 10 Black women academics. Using the method of discourse analysis, I identify six common themes: experiences as a student, the strengths and limits of UCT’s transformation agenda, stories of everyday racism experienced as a faculty member, identity as resilience, building communities of mutual support, and the effects of other forms of discrimination (e.g. age, citizenship and sexuality). This thesis argues that while there is evidence that the transformation agenda has been somewhat successful with respect to equity and diversity, efforts remain inadequate to reorder the deeply rooted structures of oppression and the diverse challenges faced by Black women. In particular, the third element of EDI initiatives— ‘inclusion’—remains a work-in-progress. Black women academics perceive that dominant institutional culture and norms prevent them from participating fully in spaces of higher education.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/41169
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -