SA girls get techno skilled

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pretoria - Thousands of young South African girls will be given an opportunity to get a glimpse of the working world through job shadowing.

At least 4 000 disadvantaged girls will be able to shadow their role models working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics during their school holidays.

The project, to be launched in Gauteng by Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana on Friday, is a structured job-shadowing programme meant to empower young girls with scarce and critical skills such as mathematics, science, engineering and technology.

Aptly called Techno Girl, the venture will expose the girls to various career paths and options so that they can make informed career choices.

The department said it had been noted that fewer girls study science, technology, engineering and mathematics at both secondary and tertiary levels and this has major implications later in the girls' lives, as they have fewer career opportunities and get relatively lower paying jobs.

"The department ... believes that redressing gender inequality in South Africa is an economic imperative. This means that gender bias directly affects economic growth.

"This is because the majority of South Africa's population is women. By implication, gender stereotyping therefore translates to limitations on the income of a large part of the population," said the department.

It said that expanding choices for people and creating equal opportunities were essential ingredients for sustainable human development.

The Techno Girl project is an important intervention that seeks to reverse this unfortunate situation by providing girls with the opportunity and skills to become productive participants in the economy and to empower them to make positive decisions that affect their lives.

The programme will also give young girls the skills, confidence and power to create a better life for themselves and their communities.

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