We don't live in a single-gender world, therefore, it is important that the sector responsible for the creation of products, processes and systems for this world is not dominated by a single-gender workforce. We aim to increase the number of female engineers who are available for industry to employ, bring about gender equality in the workplace, and empower our female engineers to provide fresh perspectives on the problems faced in the industry. For this initiative, the NWU has partnered with merSETA to develop a dedicated Women in Engineering (WiE) programme. The objectives of this programme are:
- To motivate, stimulate interest in, and improve access to engineering and related studies for South African 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:
- The Femmegineering Event: In order to attract more school girls to Engineering as Career, a unique event is hosted annually. At this event, we explore the different engineering disciplines offered at the NWU and in collaboration with our Alumni showcase that engineering is a career not only suitable for women but one in which they can flourish. The event includes engaging speakers, hands-on projects, fireside chats with female engineering students and engineers working in the industry and excellent entertainment.
- The Modiragatsi Competition: Modiragatsi is an annual innovation competition for South African youth and is presented in partnership with the NWU Business School. We encourage the youth to not only identify problems in their communities that technology can solve, but also be part of the solution by training them to develop their idea into a product and their product into a start-up business - thereby also tackling the problem of youth unemployment.
- i-code-robot: In response to the statement made in 2019 by the minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, that new subjects in coding and robotics, which will develop the skills and competencies to prepare Gr R – 9 children for the fourth Industrial Revolution will be introduced from 2020, a 3-day short course was developed and offered to up-skill teachers, parents and students in the principles of programming and robotics.
- Femmtor: In order to support our WiE initiatives, we need willing and able hands – to this end, the Femmtor bursary is awarded to a limited number of female undergraduate and post students acting as mentors and assistants on the WiE projects within the faculty.