Justice Masekane – South Africa

Date: August 26, 2015
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A job has no title, only employees have

Women are hard workers, we just don’t seem to take them seriously

Justice Masekane heads the human resources department and is also the station manager’s personal assistant (PA). When asked about his job he smiled and said I am a qualified office manager and I am not ashamed of my qualifications. “Most men take offence at the kind of job that I do and funny enough I don’t,” adds Masekane. Justice attended his first Gender Links (GL) workshop in Venda as part of the stations in-house training. He recalled the discussion on the distinction between sex and gender and shares his views on that first day. “I was very happy to have been part of that workshop. It opened my eyes and made me realize that I am doing the right job at the institution” says Masekane. Justice feels that, although he learned a lot during the training, part of what he learned was confusing as well. “I was confused because we spoke so much about women as if men don’t deserve a mention.”

Justice believes his engagements in GL workshops and activities have helped him change a lot as an individual. He says, as a Venda man, his attitude towards women has changed and that he now enjoys doing his job without having to think about the manager in the office where he serves. “I used to look down on women, I used to hate the position I was given at the station because I believed it was for women”. Masekane says if it was not for the GL material and a wealth of information on the GL website he would not have become knowledgeable with regard to gender.

Having started at the station as a news reader, Justice says his change in position was a setback in his career and he had almost given up on his future. This was because in his view, to be appointed head of human resources and a PA was more of a demotion than a promotion. “I thank GL for the training because I always thought, as an HR graduate, my job was to review policies and strategies not to be a PA to a woman. I have changed because of GL and I think the COE project can change many other young community workers like myself.”

Justice says through the GL training he is now well informed about issues around gender. He describes himself as a bright and educated PA and all credit goes to GL for the wonderful opportunity.

As a PA and human resources manager, Masekane is faced with the huge task of communicating effectively to both his station manager and the entire staff and volunteers at the station. Masekane has acquired critical communication skills and this is evident in the way he communicates with both women and men at the station. According to the deputy station manager, Mr. Heavy Mbedzi, Masekane addresses everyone with respect and is humble. “Masekane speaks politely with everyone as if he is addressing the president, he is a humble man.”

Masekane is currently working closely with the news editor to assist in terms of the policies, rules and guidelines that the department should adopt and adhere to. He says he is now able to assist with the language policy as he is gender aware. “I am very cautious when it comes to language and this is because of the gender training that I have received through GL.”

Masekane says GL could do more as a partner to educate the nation, particularly rural communities. He believes that GL work could reach a wide audience through radio programmes and newspaper publications. Masekane says he is now focused on his job and wants to continue to champion respect for gender issues in his organisation. He believes he stands a better chance of making a difference in his community radio station because he is in the HR department.

“I am willing to assist and work with as many people as possible in my organisation to address issues of gender.”


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