From having no authority over their own lives to breaking glass ceilings and running industries, women have come a long way in changing the way the world works. We are all about education and it’s only fitting that we close out Women’s Month by looking at women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
While women have always been highly gifted in these and other fields, they’ve always been relegated to administrative, clerical and upkeep roles, when they were allowed to work that is. All that is changing and effort is being put into getting more women into spaces that affect real impact.
Inventions by women
But even before this new movement, women have been defying the odds and challenges to create some amazing work. There’s a plethora of inventions by women, some of which were either denied their patents, refused by manufacturers or flat out ignored and then repackaged by men. Windshield wipers, the first word processor and computer algorithm, the circular chainsaw and so many others. All by women, not all of them initially credited to them. Remember the film Hidden Figures, about Kathryn Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson? These incredible women made significant mathematical and engineering contributions to space exploration and weren’t recognised until decades later! Now that women can freely participate, they are shaking things up.
Women running industries
Increasingly more companies are being started with women in charge across the board. Energy, telecommunications, software, edtech and financial institutions are taking off in South Africa and the rest of the continent. South African Nthabiseng Mosia’s Easy Solar is providing energy to thousands of Sierra Leonean communities. Also from South Africa, SweepSouth CEO and co-founder’s Aisha Pandoor spearheaded Africa’s first end-to-end online platform for home cleaning services. Zandile Keebine’s GirlCode is teaching African girls to code. Nigerian Oyindamola Honey Ogundeyi’s Edukoya is educating thousands online. In Ethiopia, Betelhem Dessie is giving girls tech skills through iCog, and so is Regina Honu’s Soronko Academy in Ghana and Rachel Sibande’s mHub, which not only teaches but is also a tech hub for other entrepreneurs. The list continues to grow. Our very own Mamokgethi Phakeng was the first black female to earn her PhD in Mathematics Education and while she doesn’t have a startup, she does run the best university in Africa.
“Women have always been incredibly important members of society, women’s wisdom in shaping social and cultural norms that prioritise order and harmony; whilst advancing humanity has been remarkable. A society without women is no society at all, those who ignore the power and wisdom of women do so at their own peril!” says Yandiswa Xhakaza, UCT Online High School’s Director and Principal. UCT Online High School is committed to providing a safe, affordable and accessible learning space for all young women. A number of their Learning Designers and Teachers are women who are passionate about getting more girls in STEM fields. They are vividly aware of the many challenges that our education faces. It’s not just about affordable quality education, it’s also about closing gaps and bridging barriers.
Due to the emergence of Artificial Intelligence and growing technology, STEM is at the forefront of these innovations. With STEM learning, learners are putting themselves in the driving seat of the current world’s technological developments, being able to offer real solutions and build the future. STEM learning starts young. Curriculums like Cambridge International curriculum facilitate STEM learning through their IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education).
UCT Online High School is now Africa’s most affordable, fully-accredited, online school to offer the Cambridge International curriculum for only R3,300pm. Their applications for the 2023 school year are now open. Set your child up for the future by applying today and receive 40% off your placement fee — valid until 30 September 2022.