Jill Ryan has one ultimate goal: a violence-free South Africa. “This is a big dream, but every journey starts with a single step,” she says. Since obtaining her PhD in child and family studies at the University of the Western Cape, Ryan has contributed to the field with her research on family violence and gender-based violence. She has served on expert committees at provincial and national level, advising on policy and implementation plans concerning the issue of violence against women and children. Being considered an expert in her field at age 31 feels “surreal” for Ryan, who encourages others to not be demotivated by failure. “Your ‘good enough’ efforts are more impactful than waiting for the unattainable ‘perfect’ time,” she says. She was recently appointed the gender nonviolence coordinator at Stellenbosch University’s Equality Unit, where she will strive to ensure vulnerable members of society are protected.
Credibility is everything and your name is all you have.