South Africa needs more women in Science related careers

South Africa needs more women in Science related careers

By Jerry Machikopa Penreach Change Agent

Only 3 of 13 members of the council for the Academy of Science of South Africa are women. University enrolment and Science workforce environment in South Africa is highly dominated by males. According to John Butler-Adam (editor-in-chief of the South African Journal of Science and a consultant to the University of Pretoria) “It’s still a man’s world in Africa science”. In the 114 years that Nobel prizes have been awarded, only 47 women have received awards, and as for Mathematics only once awarded to a woman in 70 years.

Penreach Science Programme continues to fight the odds against this unjustified reality for South African woman. The Shalamuka Science Centre based at Penryn College in Mpumalanga, is a place for young aspiring scientists to come and experiment with resources they are not readily available to them in their community schools.

Over 120 girl learners from Mshadza and Hazyview Secondary School recently attended a Girls Science Seminar at the Shalamuka Science Centre. The focus of this event, co-hosted by Penreach Partner South African Agency for Science and Technology (SAASTA), was aimed at bringing together young girls who are considering a career in Science, as well as addressing the challenge of male dominance in the area of Science.

Role model presentations were made by Ms Zanele Sifundza and Tembisa Ngqondi, both professors at the University of Mpumalanga specialising in Sciences. Their approach of encouraging and motivating the young girls resulted in a positive pledge toward Science subjects, by the attending learners. Both Sifundza and Ngqondi, have proved with their own credible innovations, that it’s highly possible for young South African girls to make it in the field of Sciences

Grade 9 learner of Mshadza Secondary School, Lindokuhle Maphosa shared,

“I never knew that there are also women before me who made it in Sciences and made history, so why not me now? I know for sure I will make it.”
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