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For the first time in the country’s history, a woman will lead a public university in Mozambique

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Emília Nhalevilo, dean of Púnguè University. Photo by Emília Nhalevilo, used with permission.

In January 2019, Mozambican professor Emília Nhalevilo took office as dean of the recently-created Púnguè University, becoming thus the first women to ever lead a public university in the African country.

She was nominated by President Filipe Nyusi and the decision was announced by the Council of Ministers on January 29. She will remain in office, in principle, for a period of four years.

Born in Nampula, the most populous province in Mozambique, Nhalevilo holds a doctorate and master’s degree in education from the University of Perth, Australia, and a bachelor’s degree in science education from Pedagogical University (UP).

From 2005 to 2007, she worked as Professor at Curtin University of Technology, in Australia. In 2008, Nhalevilo became the head of the chemistry department at UP, and then took office as deputy director of the Center for Mozambican Studies and Ethnoscience, a research center at the same institution.

In 2017, she was a fellow with the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development of New York University, in the United States.

Nhalevilo was the vice-dean for research and extension in the UP since 2018.

As dean of a public university, her current position is equivalent to that of a minister in Mozambique.

Eliana Nzualo, an activist and feminist blogger, says Nhalevilo’s appointment is a historic moment:

UM DIA NA HISTÓRIA

Professora Doutora Emília Nhalevilo é a primeira mulher na liderança de uma Universidade Pública em Moçambique. Parabéns à Magnífica Reitora!

Por mais mulheres nas Universidades,
Por mais mulheres na liderança!

HISTORY DAY

Professor Emília Nhalevilo is the first woman to lead a Public University in Mozambique.

Congratulations to the Magnificent Rector!

For more women in the Universities,

For more women in the lead!

In Mozambique, women still face challenges in accessing leadership and management positions. But there have been improvements: in the current parliament, for example, both the president of the assembly and the heads of the two largest political caucus are women.

But gender inequality still prevails in the southern African country.

The UNDP’s 2016 Africa Human Development Report, whose title is “Accelerating Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa,” revealed that Mozambican women and girls continue to suffer from inequalities, such as poor access to justice, poor access to school and health care, and repeated acts of violence.

In 2018, there were 25,356 cases of domestic violence in Mozambique, of which 12,500 were against women and 9,000 against children.

Mozambique ranks 10th in the world for child marriages, according to a UNICEF report from 2015. The organization defines “child marriage” as a marital union in which at least one person is under the age of 18.

In mid-2018, pilot Admira António became the first woman to ever captain a flight in Mozambique, while in December 2018, an all-female flight crew took to the skies for the first time.

In 2014, when the Police of the Republic of Mozambique turned 39, Arsenia Massingue was presented as the first woman general in the corporation.

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