Sparrow Schools Educational Trust takes pride in being able to continually provide effective solutions to resolving South Africa’s education crisis, helping eradicate poverty and unemployment. Although the country still faces serious challenges, great strides have been made to ensure that there is equal opportunity for all. However, South Africa faces another hurdle in its pursuit for equality for all, Gender Discrimination.

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According to statistics published by the South African Revenue Service, “women earn nearly a third less than men on average in South Africa.” Women are faced with the challenge of having to do twice the work to prove their worthiness. The patriarchal status quo continues to be the hindering factor in many South African women’s lives.

However, just as South Africans fought to put an end to an unjust Apartheid system, the fight against gender discrimination is very much alive. Some young women are choosing to break down gender stereotypes and refuse to be victims. Emily Phepheng, is just one of many young women who have had to overcome great hurdles.

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The young woman from Limpopo fell victim to a tale old as time. Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, boy and girl fall in love, girl falls pregnant and the father avoids responsibility. Phepheng fell pregnant at 20 years and the father left her to fend for herself. “I remember how difficult it was, I was young and I did not know how I was going to handle it,” Phepheng says.

Instead of taking the easy road and wallowing in despair, Phepheng enrolled at the Sparrow FET College for a Fluid Power Hose Assembly Skills Program. Despite the hydraulics industry being male dominated, Phepheng is on a mission to break down the stereotype. Her persistence and dedication earned her the title as class captain from a class dominated by males.

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Now 27 years old and a single mother of 2, she is now a permanent employee at hydraulics company, Alfagomma. She remains unfazed and continues to conquer the gender stereotypes. Her motivation comes from wanting to inspire her peers, moving them to take a stand and conquer their fears. “Do not focus on not having money, I went to Sparrow and got more information and here I am now,” Phepheng stresses.

The next milestone in Phepheng’s books is to get into logistics and take her career a step further. Speaking on how her life has changed since joining Sparrow, she explains, “I can now focus on more important things, I can focus on my kids and take care of them. I am a much more responsible mother.”

In respect of women’s month, we will continue to profile women whose lives have been changed. We will also be profiling the women playing crucial roles in ensuring that Sparrow Schools Educational trust continues to inspire action and change lives.

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