The winners of the South African Women in Science Awards (WISA) were announced last Friday at a ceremony hosted by the Department of Science and Technology.

The awards are held annually to celebrate outstanding female scientists and researchers, and encourage younger women to follow in their footsteps. Professor Glenda Gray, president of the Medical Research Council and National Research Foundation A-rated researcher, delivered the keynote address at the ceremony.

The award recipients in each category are:

Distinguished Woman Scientist (Natural Sciences and Engineering)

  • Professor Priscilla Baker of the University of the Western Cape
  • Professor Marina Rautenbach of Stellenbosch University

 Distinguished Women Scientists (Humanities and Social Sciences)

  • Professor Leila Patel of the University of Johannesburg
  • Professor Marie Poggelpoel of the University of Johannesburg

Distinguished Young Woman Scientist

  • Dr Puleng Segalo, senior lecturer at Unisa
  • Dr Nosipho Moloko, researcher and academic at Wits University

Several masters and doctoral fellowships sponsored by TATA Africa and the Department of Science and Technology were awarded to various young female scientists at the ceremony.

“Looking at the history of women in science, it is apparent that women have struggled long and hard to be recognised as legitimate scientists, and that women of colour are confronted with a double jeopardy of both race and gender, not only in South Africa, but at a global level,” said professor Gray.

Award finalists and winners will be invited to participate in science awareness campaigns led by the department to serve as role models for other women, particularly young girls, according to department minister Naledi Pandor.

[Source – Department of Science and Technology, Image – Shutterstock]