Title: Equity development programmes: does mentoring make a difference in individual and social transformation for South African WonderWomen?

Authors: Hilary Geber

Addresses: Industrial Psychologist, Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Private Bag 3, Wits 2050, Republic of South Africa

Abstract: The equity and transformation challenge for women and black academics at universities in Post-Apartheid South Africa is enormous. Despite a marked increase in equity development programmes since the 1996 Employment Equity legislation, fewer women than expected have advanced through the academic ranks. An indigenous mentoring model for transformation is suggested for sustainable institutional change. This study investigated the experiences of ten racially diverse women mentored in the |WonderWoman| Project (2002-2006) at University of the Witwatersrand. Several critical issues emerged: firstly, the effects of personal and career development on promotion and publication rates; secondly, the effectiveness of mentoring and coaching received; and thirdly, programme effectiveness for institutional change. Mentoring resulted in positive personal change but little institutional transformation: the programme agenda and the university transformation agenda being insufficiently aligned. White women benefited more from |WonderWoman| than Black women did; the disadvantage of race was not significantly ameliorated by the programme.

Keywords: equity development; higher education; institutional learning; mentoring; organisational change; post-apartheid South Africa; social change; institutional transformation; women; black academics; race; gender; universities; employment; equality; equal opportunities; legislation; racial diversity; racism; WonderWoman Project; University of the Witwatersrand; personal development; career development; promotion; publication rates; coaching; personal change.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLC.2010.032707

International Journal of Learning and Change, 2010 Vol.4 No.2, pp.99 - 118

Published online: 15 Apr 2010 *

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