Is Gender Discrimination still a Problem?


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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  sylvia hammond 1 week, 1 day ago.

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  • #67449

    sylvia hammond
    Keymaster

    This week the WomEng organisation for women in engineering posted a critical comment on the Facebook UCTEBE page. They were objecting to a published article by the CEO of SAICE – the South African Institute of Civil Engineers. I have attached a copy of the article – Out of a Rib, which expresses an opinion that it is a waste of time and money to encourage women into engineering.

    UCT EBE (engineering and built environment) faculty has been running a promotion encouraging women into STEM (science technology engineering and maths) and the engineering profession. Today the Dean of the UCT EBE faculty distributed an article disagreeing with the sentiments of the SAICE CEO article. Also attached.

    As training providers, what is your opinion and experience? Are women still being discriminated against and discouraged when they want to study towards what are traditionally male careers?

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  • #67455

    Ken Annandale
    Participant

    The writer’s quoted statistic seems to say it all:
    “But the most striking is that, of almost 6000 professionally registered members, only 5% are women”.
    I would be interested to see whether there is a correlation between the average professional’s age and career longevity.
    Furthermore, I wonder if this statistic is reflected in other robust professions and environments? I heard this said of staff the combat forces and amongst commercial divers, who suffered from an imbalance in gender equality.
    This should be an interesting PhD thesis.
    Regards
    Ken

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  • #67464

    Hannes Nel
    Participant

    Out on a rib – my impressions
    Rather than to substantiate his post-positivist arguments like “Women in egalitarian gender-equal societies do not choose careers in STEM”; or “…when work was the same for exactly the same hours worked, women earned more than men,” the writer one-sidedly claims that female engineers know that he is on their side. Why not let them decide, based on the arguments and spirit of the article?
    Then again, if what the writer wrote is correct, female intellectuals in any field should guard against falling back on feminist rhetoric by, for example, claiming that they have to work twice as hard as men to be accepted as equals. This is not necessary and women who are intellectually gifted and well-qualified should and can prove themselves as scientists, not as members of a particular gender. The social structure of South Africa, and the world at large, evolved over time to the point where we now largely have a situation of naturalistic gender equality. Or is this still not the case?
    Professor Lewis’s stance might be interpreted as lack of academic consistency of which feminist points of view are often accused. Women need not fall back on emotional arguments to prove their worth as true scientists – all they need to do is to perform as well as or, as is often the case, outperform men. Then again, this need not be a competition between genders.
    In closing, diversity is not at issue. If women happened to be in the majority as engineers or any other field of expertise, then so be it – or the other way around. I do not agree that more should be invested in attracting more women to STEM careers unless, of course, there is valid and accurate evidence that women are still being discriminated against. More should be done, if it is not already so, to ensure that there is no differentiation in access and opportunities to study and be appointed for women and men. Merit has nothing to do with gender – it is all about performance and intellectual potential.
    Dr Hannes Nel

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  • #67466

    sylvia hammond
    Keymaster

    For those interested in following the debate – the Cape Talk interview is available on:
    Broadcast of Cape Talk interview
    The WomEng NGO explains the response they have received and many requests to remove the CEO – from men as well as women.
    Apparently the SAICA board is being convened for an emergency meeting.

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  • #67477

    sylvia hammond
    Keymaster

    A further update is the Press Statement from the SAICA board – attached as a graphic, but if you would like to read the comments and see the original – and you are on Twitter this is the link:

    SAICA press statement

    Ken mentions the low female membership – as you will see from the comments, I would not be surprised if that doesn’t reduce even further. Clearly, this is not a Board that could understand the offence caused by the patronising and patriarchal tone of the article.

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