I wasn't willing to sacrifice family for career: Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe

Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.
Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.
Image: Supplied

UCT chancellor Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe said she recalls the days she was tempted to choose between studying medicine and having a family.  The entrepreneur, who leads the Motsepe Family Foundation, was the keynote speaker at UCT’s virtual Women’s Day event on Thursday.

“Often when we celebrate achievements by women, we are not encouraged to continue interrogating and transforming that culture that makes it so difficult for women to achieve these heights in the first place,” said Moloi-Motsepe.

“Going back to my days as a student, I remember looking up to many women who were specialising within the medical field at the time. I wanted to be one of them and follow their example,” she added.

“Professionally, my goal was to specialise in women and children’s healthcare, and personally I wanted to have a family. I wasn’t willing to compromise one dream for another. Many women in medicine and academia in general, who were my role models, either opted not to have families of their own in order to advance their careers or if they have children they will make the difficult and really painful trade-offs in a never-ending balance act.

“I found this troublesome because it seemed to me that in order to flourish as an academic, specialist or expert in any career, it seemed to require some form of personal, deep sacrifice. Although some men contend with this same dilemma, this opportunity cost, as economists would call it, is a loss unique mostly to women.”