TATA International in Africa celebrated women in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) industries by awarding scholarships worth over R500 000 to six recipients at the 2019 South African Women in Science Awards (SAWiSA), held at the Boardwalk Hotel and Convention Centre in Port Elizabeth on Thursday 15 August.
SAWiSA is an initiative of the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology and was hosted by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande.
Now in its 15th year, the awards recognise and reward excellence by women scientists and researchers who are South African citizens or permanent residents and profile them as role models for younger women. The theme for the 2019 SAWiSA was making the fourth industrial revolution work for women.
“We are not going to affirm the role of women in the 4IR unless we simultaneously intensify the mobilisation of society against patriarchy, gender inequality and gender-based violence, amongst others,” said Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande.
“As a department and government, we are investing in training and lifelong learning for women. In dealing with women empowerment, as a department, we aspire to transform our higher education science and innovation centres to be of high quality and demographically representative in order to provide students and staff with opportunities for better access and success.”
Len Brand, CEO of TATA International in Africa and Dr. Gerda Botha, Chairperson of the Board of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions presented the TATA scholarships to full-time postgraduate Masters and PHD students in areas where participation by women is traditionally low.
One of the recipients, Sibabalo Noludwe who is studying her Masters in Electrical Engineering with a research topic on power system residency was excited to receive the scholarship from TATA. “This award means so much to me and I hope it serves as an inspiration and awareness to other young women to pursue their studies and research within the field of science and engineering,” she said.
Tata International in Africa advocates for empowerment and heightening the role of women in science and have awarded deserving recipients with scholarships over the last 10 years.
“It is important for us to invest in women in South Africa, especially within the field of science and technology. At TATA we believe in empowering people through giving back and promoting social and economic development of local communities through education, this is one of the key components of the TATA business values and belief system. We feel very proud to be associated with SAWiSA and we hope to continue this long-standing partnership,” said Len Brand.
This year’s TATA and SAWiSA scholarship recipients are: Sibabalo Noludwe (University of Cape Town), Sarah Jane Selkirk (University of Cape Town), Mokgadi Mahlatse Nchabeleng (University of the Witwatersrand), Nomonde Sharon Malanda (Instituto de Empresa, Spain), Katekani Shingange (University of the Free State) and Julia Lynn Healy (University of Cape Town).