‘More women engineers needed in South Africa’

27 August 2014

The Deputy Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga wants to see women occupying 50% of managerial positions and more women engineers working with Sanral.

Addressing delegates at a gathering hosted by Sanral, Chikunga also emphasised that women should play a more important role in the economy of the country.

Chikunga said: “Traditionally, women and engineering were not two words that went together. But that older world ethos has changed. From a base of 20 or so a decade ago, there are about 1000 women engineering undergraduates currently studying at South African universities and technikons.

“However, despite the progress made in closing the gender gap and making more opportunities available for women in business, South Africa’s construction industry is one place where being a woman is still a major challenge.”

“To help address the under-representation of women, government has invested R3.2-trillion towards infrastructure investment projects with R845bn earmarked for the implementation of infrastructure programmes.”

Nompumelelo Pakade, president of the South African Women in Construction, said it was imperative that contractor development programmes (CDPs) were instituted to promote skills development.

“For women empowerment to be sustainable, training needs to be followed by work opportunities. CDPs create an enabling environment for contractor development, allowing for targets to be set, the growth process to be monitored and evaluation to be conducted at the end of a particular period,” Pakade said.

By Vincent Cruywagen

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