Tutu: Undermining women hurts SA

Nobel Prize Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the partnership launch between the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation and Gender Reconciliation International that will focus on the implementation of gender reconciliation. (Rodger Bosch, AF
Nobel Prize Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the partnership launch between the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation and Gender Reconciliation International that will focus on the implementation of gender reconciliation. (Rodger Bosch, AF

Cape Town - Undermining women is detrimental to reconciliation in South Africa, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said on Tuesday.

"We are mentioning the obvious. We are speaking about how women are treated generally in society," he told reporters at Stellenbosch University's Tygerberg campus in Cape Town.

"We actually have undermined humanity by the treatment we have meted out to women just as much as racists undermine their humanity, as treating others as less than human."

He said women had to be acknowledged for who they were.

The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation has partnered with the university's Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert Student Leadership Development Institute and Gender Reconciliation International to offer workshops aimed at building empathy between men and women.

The institute would run a full-time programme next year to train students as gender reconciliation workshop facilitators.

Student leaders would then champion gender equality in their communities through various projects.

It was anticipated that similar programmes would be rolled out to other universities across the country.

Tutu said gender equality was mentioned in the Bible.

"We don't understand what God said. God said it's not good for this man to be alone... Man would not become fully human until he had her [a woman]."

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