Support women to study science - Pandor

2011-04-06 07:22

Cape Town - Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor called for special incentives to encourage women to follow careers in science as she opened a five-day international physics conference in Stellenbosch on Tuesday.

Pandor told the 4th International Union of Pure and Applied Physics International Conference of Women in Physics that SA was probably absent from the Thomson Reuters' list of 20 top countries in the field because women here were discouraged from studying science.

"I can't help thinking that this is because we have not yet properly unleashed the scientific talent of half of our people, the better half, the women," she said.

"It has to be said that women are not encouraged to be scientists... Girls and women are not supposed to be good at maths or science. And it shows in the studies of performance in maths and science at school. Boys do better because they are encouraged to do better."

Pandor said SA therefore needed to add to existing measures, which include research fellowships and special grants, to support women scientists, and to nurture school pupils who showed an interest in physics.

"We need incentives in favour of developing women in research, not only for its own sake but also to compensate for women's dual careers at home and work".

She said mentoring, good teachers and an encouraging family environment had all been shown to be key ingredients in preparing young girls for a career in science.

  • TheNwsReader - 2011-04-06 07:34

    This is sexism

  • Hajas - 2011-04-06 07:50

    My daughter is a second year student at the University of Pretoria, studying Chemical Engineering. She received 6 distinctions in Matric from a well known High School in Pretoria. She has passed all her firts year subjects. She speaks three languages the third one being Spanish. She spent a year in Madrid after Matric working for an international company. She did research on the Biomass possibilities in sub-Sahara Africa. But after sending close to 30 applications for a bursary to all the big companies in SA, the search is still unsuccessful. Of all the applications she had two replies. The first reply she can declined straight away - by a big petro chemical company. The second reply was an interview, but no success. I support Ms. Pandor. It is time that women are supported in the science fields.

      chantal de pierres - 2011-04-06 08:54

      I know this is probably not helpful but has she tried Unilever ?

      Niki - 2011-04-06 09:23

      I completed my studies 5 years ago, I'm sitting with three Science degrees - of which my highest qualification is a Masters, my student loan was almost R100,000.00 and at Masters level I too couldn't get a bursary although my aggregate for Honours was 70%. By all means promote women in science, but also provide the tools to support them and create jobs. If I knew then what I know now I would never have gone into the scientific field.

  • Shoana Hutton - 2011-04-06 07:56

    What about the Girls and Woman that did make it in Science and are now stuck, as the people employing are not interested in Females? Its' exactly where I am and it is upsetting that they are willing to help girls get here and then leave them instead of encouraging Employers.

  • Thingamebob - 2011-04-06 08:06

    They become pregnant and have to be paid while sitting at home for a year's maternaty leave. As company's are profit motivated, why employ woman.

      Victor Paul - 2011-04-06 08:20

      You're talking k@k. I suppose thet must employ an idiot like you who cannot even spell "MATERNITY" properly and lives in the dark ages and abuse women?

      Thingamebob - 2011-04-06 08:27

      @victor, if i am talking K@K why do we have this situation where companies are NOT employing women. They will tell you stories etc but why employ, train, empower them and they WILL be off to have kids and the companies have to get someone in to cover for them. Fair??? No....reality....YES. Think a bit if its at all possible.

      ratex - 2011-04-06 09:33

      You know what is even more scary than your sexest comment, is that a slug like you can propogate the species. Do us all a favour and remove yourself from the gene pool, we have enough stupidity in there already. I bet that you are that kind of guy that walks into a pub and evrybody wants to moer you. You idiot.

  • mike - 2011-04-06 08:17

    yes, to hell with anyone that actually deserves fellowships or grants

  • chantal de pierres - 2011-04-06 08:52

    Most scientists that I worked with in research are women, they are the only ones willing to earn the low salaries! Most of them also had R100 000 bank loans to pay off after their masters degree. So yes Ms Pandor I agree!

      Vaal Donkie - 2011-04-06 09:08

      Cosmetic research? Just kidding. Ja, I've noticed that women are especially prevalent in the biological sciences.

  • Vaal Donkie - 2011-04-06 09:07

    If both sexes are equal, why must you force ("encourage") women to study the sciences? Surely they should be free to choose their own degrees just like men?

      CTScientist - 2011-04-06 10:35

      Both sexes may be considered equal now. But I think the issues is addressing an imbalance within the discipline.

  • Whitey - 2011-04-06 09:18

    Please, before you send your girl of to study "Science" check if there are actual opportunities in these areas. All the women (and men) I know who studied the sought after disciplines had jobs before they finished their studies and their only problem is, when to move on to the next, better paying position. And please remember Spanish or most other languages (including afrikaans, which I speak) does not count. The new latin is English.

  • Duke - 2011-04-06 09:23

    Bullshit. Majority of matriculants avoid maths and physics. Majority are afraid of the challenge of these courses. Teacher tests of recent indicating their high level of incompetence support the dearth of youngsters who are skilled in this field. So minister.... there is nothing / no talent to unleash. It does not exist and is not being developed. All thanks to the education department!

  • ratex - 2011-04-06 09:30

    Oh please, what a load of crap. You either have natural talent at a genre or you don't. The real question is why are SA woman not exploring Scientific fields. The answer is because the ANC have destroyed our education system, so these "woman" go off shore to get a decent education and once they are offshore, they do not come back. Why do they not come back, because like education you ANC have cocked up SA's infrastructures and have made employemnt a complete racist, neapatism, tokenism debacle. SO pandor, GFY, you will never resolve this with your current Govt regime. The brain drain aint a white's only issue, any person with a "go getter" attitude will explore off shore opportunities. You and your ANC stalwarts are the single biggest cause of the brain drain.

  • wesleywt - 2011-04-06 09:34

    First fix the fact that there is no scientific industry in South Africa. Most of the scientific equipment and products are produced overseas. Our science graduates don't develop anything, they all become reps for overseas concerns.

  • Tseko - 2011-04-06 10:21


  • Sci_girl - 2011-04-06 10:22

    I am a female chemical engineer, and although I didn’t have a bursary, I have never had any problem getting a job. I work for a technology supplier (our own technology, designed in South Africa), and as a result I frequently work with engineers from our clients (usually the large mining and petrochemical companies). I would estimate that about half of the younger chemical engineers are women. As far as I know, I earn the same as my male counterparts, and I have never been treated with disrespect in the workplace (which is often the male-dominated area of a chemical production plant). Although I don’t deny that some women have experienced sexism at work, the assertion that companies do not want to employ female engineers is ridiculous. @Hajas, tell your daughter to persevere. One of my friends was top of our class at university for 4 years and he was consistently denied a bursary. Then a large company offered about 15 bursaries to students in the year below us, seemingly completely at random. It’s unfair, sure, but I doubt that it is because she is female. So don’t stop trying!

  • Lolly - 2011-04-06 12:58

    I have completed the theoretical part of my S4 in Chemical Engineering. I did this part time, while working to pay for my studies. Now I am stuck. I can not find employment to complete my year practical work. While I think it is a good idea to promote careers in engineering / science, I have to ask: How does this help me? It's all talk and it does not really help any of us looking for employment in the field

  • Zambezi - 2011-04-06 15:04

    Why must we be forced into employing woman? It's the same as parliament, we are forced to have a % of members as woman. If we wanted woman there, we would vote them in. We don't want woman, period!!! Why force them on us?

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