Today (11th February) marks the International Day of Women and Girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Even though this day is designed to celebrate women and girls in STEM, according to United Nations Educational Science and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), only 23 percent of global STEM talent is female.
According to the organisation’s report (PDF), this lack of women in the industry is mirrored in South Africa, and we do not have enough qualified female scientists and engineers.
The Sub-Saharan Africa region for example, only has 31.3 percent of women in STEM industries, and while this is higher than the global average, there is still more that can be done in this field.
While a lack of qualifications is one aspect of the problem, another is the fact that only a few women remain to practice in their field of study and advance their knowledge base to act as role models for other aspiring women.
To try to do their part for females in the STEM industry, Anglo-American has committed to grow and develop skills in South Africa, with various centres aimed at imparting knowledge and expertise.
This includes the Science Centre at Parktown High School for Girls, The Anglo-American Science, Career Guidance and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Resource Centre, Kumba’s Bridging School and Bursary Programme.
“STEM skills are the foundation upon which our country’s development and future prosperity is built,” said Technology manager at Anglo-American Kumba Iron Ore, Bongi Ntsoelengoe to IT News Africa.
“Not only are they the skills that will take the mining sector forward, but a groundswell of new engineering talent is imperative to liberate our country from underdevelopment. It is imperative that we do everything within our power to instill a passion for the STEM fields in our young people,” she concluded.