The Association of South African Women in Science and Engineering (SA WISE) is a dynamic association for all those who support the idea of strengthening the role of women in science and engineering in South Africa.
SA WISE aims to strengthen this role by inter alia:
- raising the profile of women scientists and engineers
- highlighting and addressing problems faced specifically by women in these fields
- lobbying for the advancement of women in science and engineering
- providing leadership and role models for young people wishing to enter the fields of science and engineering
An important function of SA WISE is to improve communication among women scientists and engineers, with e-mail being the preferred medium of communication. Members are encouraged to send ideas and information to SA WISE. SA WISE also maintains contact with other assocations of women in science and engineering world-wide (refer to links). Read the SA WISE constitution.
Why does South Africa need women in science and engineering?
Africa, including South Africa has a critical shortage of trained technological people. In 1980 North America had 2679 scientists and engineers involved in reserach and developement per million population; Latin America had 251; Africa had only 49. In 1993, the USA had 7600 people per million involved in R & D, Japan had 7300. No figures are available for Africa. Increasing the number of technologically trained people, both men and women, is essential for development.
Also critical for development is the role of women in society. Women have the greatest influence on the next generation, they set the standards for health and hygiene and they form the majority fo the agricultural labour force. Educate a women and you educate the next generation. Girls in Africa should be encouraged to take science subjects, not only those girls who might pursue a scientific or technological career, but also those who would then be enabled to apply scientific concepts in their daily lives. Taking science subjects should not only be seen as a vocation but as a means to develop the scientific and technological culture necessary for development.
Women are the greatest resource any country has. Providing encouragement and opportunity for girls and women in science and engineering is one the most powerful ways of harnessing this resource for the development of the country.