NRF Women's Month 2022: Dr Mamoeletsi Mosia

NRF Women’s Month 2022: Dr Mamoeletsi Mosia

Women’s Month 2022 is celebrated under the theme of “Generation Equality: Realizing women’s rights for an equal future” and links to the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5) of Gender Equality by 2030. In celebrating Women’s Month 2022, the NRF reiterates its commitment to the support of women in the advancement of their careers, their establishment as researchers, as well as the support of research aimed at uplifting women.    

NRF-SAASTA’s Dr Mosia on the Importance of Introducing Children to Basic Sciences From a Young Age

NRF-SAASTA Managing Director, Dr Mamoeletsi Mosia’s best 2022 National Science Week (NSW) highlight is of a speech that was delivered by 12-year old Nokwazi Mbele. Coming from Ngelosi Primary School in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, Nokwazi gave a brief overview of the Ministerial Programme on Coding and Robotics, of which her school is a part.

“Listening to her talk about what she had learned during the programme and how she is considering a science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related (STEM) career showed the importance of exposing learners to STEM at a young age. This allows them to focus and make informed decisions on careers earlier on”, says Dr Mosia.

The National Science Week is South Africa’s countrywide celebration of STEM that is led by the Department of Science and Innovation in collaboration with NRF-SAASTA. This year the event was launched at Mangosuthu University of Technology (Umlazi Campus) on the 30 July 2022.

A range of science shows, workshops, exhibitions, webinars and lectures were held countrywide under the theme “Celebrating the role of basic sciences in the modern world”. It included both face-to-face and virtual events, which gave an opportunity for more people to participate in the festivities.

NSW forms part of NRF-SAASTA’s mandate to advance public awareness, appreciation and engagement of STEM in South Africa. “While NRF-SAASTA’s primary focus remains in engaging all learners, a focus of our interventions is also geared towards ensuring that girl learners, like Nokwazi, have the same opportunities as boy learners. In doing this, we are playing a part in addressing the shortage of women in STEM. We expose learners to careers in STEM, simultaneously providing role models that show the girls that they too can pursue such careers.”

This weaves well into the current Women’s Month global campaign, which the NRF celebrates under the theme Generation Equality – Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future, inspired by the UN Women’s long-held objective to achieve equality where all people have equal rights and opportunities.

In line with this, Dr Mosia further points out that NRF-SAASTA’s partners have expressed the need to enrol more girl learners in the various funded NRF-SAASTA programmes in hopes that this will further contribute to the increase of females who choose to pursue STEM, especially in rural areas where most of the partners operate.

The NRF-SAASTA leader’s advocacy of STEM, especially amongst young girls, partly stems from her own upbringing as she was fortunate enough to be raised by parents who believed in gender equality. “My parents treated me the same way they treated my brothers. As the only girl in the family, I had the same opportunities as my brothers and shared the same household chores. Today I am the most educated in my family, which would have not been possible in the past, especially in Black communities where girl children were not encouraged to study”, says Dr Mosia.

Dr Mosia believes that women are just as capable as men and should be given equal opportunities. “Sadly, women are still not recognised, especially in the workplace. I find it interesting that women make up an equal number, if not more than male graduates in some fields, but we still struggle to find more women in leadership positions. Society needs to evolve from the old culture of men being seen as leaders in all things. We need to value our differences, celebrate our strengths and use them accordingly for the good of society.

“Women in higher positions also have a duty to mentor those who are coming behind them. We cannot always blame men for some of the injustices we experience, especially in the workplace. If each one of us were to mentor and give opportunities to younger women it would go a long way in ensuring that more and more women advance in their careers”, concludes Mosia.

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