The aim of the Women in Engineering (WiE) programme is to increase the number of female engineers who are available for industry to employ, to bring about gender equality in the workplace, and to provide fresh perspectives on the problems faced in industry. The objectives of this programme are:

  • To motivate, stimulate interest in, and improve access to engineering and related studies for South high school girls; and
  • To support, encourage and inspire existing female engineering students at the NWU, to successfully complete or further their studies.

We work towards this aim in a number of projects:

  • Femmegineer: a unique weekend course and exposure event, presenting the different faces of engineering as a career suitable to women;
  • Modiragatsi: an innovation and problem solving competition aimed at high school girls, furnishing them with valuable skills; and


A unique weekend course and exposure event is be hosted using the university’s facilities. A similar weekend was hosted by the NWU each year since 2015, with a very high success rate. Grade 11 and 12 girls whose marks in mathematics and science indicate that they would be able to qualify for admission to an engineering programme, are invited for the weekend programme. They are transported from their respective high schools to Potchefstroom. Here they are hosted by female faculty and students along with inspirational female engineers in the industry. They also get the opportunity to try their hand at the different disciplines in engineering by completing hands-on projects, which they will also take back home with them afterwards. Approximately 200 – 300 female participants are accommodated each year. Read more about Femmegineering

Modiragatsi Competition

An innovation and problem solving competition exclusively for girls, was be hosted in March of 2019. The challenge was for Gr10 -12 girls to identify a problem in their community, which could be solved using technology. By means of individual mentoring, they were up-skilled in their creative thinking, problem solving and presentation skills and also be exposed to the latest tools and techniques in manufacturing technology (e.g. Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing, 3D Printing, Milling and Laser Cutting).

The competition was advertised nationally, after which semi-finalists, working in school-based teams were identified for team-based mentoring and development of their idea. Infrastructure, Equipment and Consumables needed for the Semi-finalists were provided during the mentoring visits.

The winning team will be accompanied by NWU staff to the Girls in Tech Catalyst conference, following a technology tour of Silicon Valley in June 2019, with the aim of inspiring them and stimulate interest and excitement in the possibilities of manufacturing in the era of Industry 4.0. Read more about the Modiragatsi Girls Competition