International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March annually. This global day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The 2021 theme focused on choosing to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality, whilst women’s achievements are celebrated. In South Africa, women are celebrated annually on 9 August, commemorating the 1956 march of women to the Pretoria Union Buildings to fight for freedom. August is marked as Women’s Month and we look forward to building on the #ChooseToChallenge theme with our Nelson Mandela University young and emerging researchers, as we reiterate women’s importance as individuals and as a collective.


In collaboration with the Department for Research Support and Management, the CMR hosted a #ChooseToChallenge Celebrating Women’s Month event via Zoom on 18 August 2021.


An impressive panel of speakers assembled for the day:

Dr Paula Pattrick - South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)

Ms Shamiso Banda - Marine Apex Predator Research Unit (MAPRU)

Ms Tarryn Swartbooi - South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)

Ms Nomtha Hadi - Business School

Ms Carla Dodd - Department of Geosciences

Ms Asisipo Mhlonyane - Department of Development Studies

Dr Gwen Penry - Institute for Coastal and Marine Research (CMR)

Dr Nina Rivers - Department of Development Studies


These speakers each delivered their presentations, all centred around the theme:

Dr Paula Pattrick - “The Flexibility Challenge: Leading a Balanced Life”

Ms Shamiso Banda - “The Communication Challenge: Being Heard”

Ms Tarryn Swartbooi - “The Confidence Challenge: Believing in Yourself”

Ms Nomtha Hadi - “The Acknowledgement Challenge: Taking Credit”

Ms Carla Dodd - “The Perfectionist Challenge: Knowing when to Stop”

Ms Asisipo Mhlonyane - “The Gender Challenge: Standing out from the Crowd”

Dr Gwen Penry - “The Emotions Challenge: Sensitivity for Success”

Dr Nina Rivers - “The Career Challenge: Professional Development”


We thank all involved for making this another successful and enjoyable event in celebration of Women’s Month in South Africa. Click here to view the video recording of this event.