Encouraging women in science in South Africa
September 19, 2016
Tata Africa participated in the prestigious Women in Science Awards (WISA), hosted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), South Africa, at the Hilton Hotel in Johannesburg on August 11, 2016. The awards aim to encourage women scientists by rewarding them, and to profile them as role models for younger women.
The annual awards are hosted in August every year to coincide with Women’s Month in South Africa. The theme for this year’s awards was ‘Women’s Empowerment and its link to sustainable development’. This theme served to echo the theme of the 2016 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and also amplified the realisation of the theme through action.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor, spoke about the role that women have played over the past 60 years in advancing women’s rights. “The Women in Science Awards is not only a special event. It also makes a more subtle contribution. It allows young women to dream of a life in science. Far too many girls are told or are allowed to assume that their dreams are irrelevant,” Ms Pandor shared.
Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Under Secretary-General of the UN and Executive Director of UN Women, also addressed the audience, speaking about her own journey of pursuing her PhD in education and technology at the University of Warwick (UK) at an older age.
Tata Africa began its association with DST back in 2009. The objective of this association is to support South African women who are studying full time in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) by awarding six scholarships to three masters’ students and three doctorate students. The value of each Tata scholarship is R60,000, which can be used for normal academic registration, tuition fees and for expanding the research experience of the recipients.
The 2016 Tata Africa Scholarships were awarded by Mr Len J Brand, Head – Distribution, Tata International and Executive Director – Tata Africa Holdings. The scholarships target areas in which participation by women is traditionally low, such as agriculture, architecture, astronomy, information sciences and engineering. Tata Africa has a rich history of partnering with local educational and social organisations to build its engagement with the community.