South African Women in Science Awards (SAWiSA) series will hold its final webinar on Wednesday, 25 November 2020 to look at the role of women at the forefront of disruptive innovation in South Africa.
The department of science and innovation (DSI) partnered with the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, Black Women in Science, and Nka’Thuto EduPropeller to host the webinar series. The department currently supports the work of these three organisations, which focus on women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation.
The webinar which will be held under the title: “Women in Innovation”, will coincide with the launch of the Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Organisation South Africa (WISETO-SA). Deputy minister of higher education, science and innovation,Buti Manamela, will officially open the event.
Since 2003, the DSI has held SAWiSA to recognise and celebrate the achievements of prominent women scientists and encourage more participation of women in research. To give them prominence the awards are held in August as part of the national Women’s Month celebrations.
The SAWiSA 2020 awards will not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and that is why the DSI has decided to host webinars. However, the original purpose would still be to celebrate women’s achievements in science and to engage on the challenges that still limit their participation and success in science and research.
The webinar series has featured previous SAWiSA award winners, who have talked about where they are now (“ba kae”) in their research work, and engaged with topics related to the experiences of women in science, research and innovation.
The launch is also in line with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Charter on Women in Science, Engineering and Technology, which was signed in 2018. The charter requires all SADC member states to establish national women in science, engineering and technology (WISET) chapters.
Among the speakers who will grace the webinar will be Professor Shelly Motaung, a biomedical scientist and the assistant dean for post-graduate studies, research, innovation and engagement in the faculty of science at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
She was the first female at TUT to receive a Fulbright Scholarship, which she used to pursue her doctorate at the University of California, Davis, USA. Professor Motaung is also the only black female South African who currently holds a BTech specialising in tissue engineering of articular cartilage.
As a professor, research scientist and entrepreneur, Professor Motaung trains her post-graduate students not just on how to do research and become scientists, but also on how to become entrepreneurs and create jobs.
Other notable speakers will include Professor Sibusiso Moyo, deputy vice-chancellor for research, innovation and engagement at the Durban University of Technology, who will deliver a presentation on the SADC WISET national chapter.
A panel discussion on women in innovation will include several female innovators, including Nneile Nkholise, whose company develops prosthetics for cancer and trauma patients. The panellists will focus on the innovation ecosystem in South Africa, including social impact and innovation for inclusivity.
Those interested to attend, can please register here: