New career paths for girls in South Africa

Published: 19 Apr, 2015

Despite a higher female enrollment rate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects, fewer girls graduate from these programs then boys in South Africa. Many believe this is due to a lack of encouragement early on in their education to pursue these careers and that they lack the foundation of educational support in these arenas. As a result, many girls are never given equal opportunity to succeed in these vital fields - a factor that is important for South African both societally and economically.

To give girls a fighting chance to reach their full potential, The Techno Girl program was created, a program that increases female participation in STEM fields with shadowing and mentoring programs. Since its launch in 2010, More than 10,000 girls have been enrolled in shadowing programs and mentorship opportunities. Not only does the program expose them to real-life work experience, it also broadens their outlook on technical subjects outside the classroom.
“Its focus is not only on giving girls access to technology, but to provide exposure to the world of work which in turn grants them the opportunity to engage with technology,” says Youth Development Specialist Nokuthula Prusent. “The end result is that girls going through the Techno Girl curriculum feel motivated by what they have seen and experienced, turning that motivation into focus on their schoolwork.”

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To supplement the program’s success, it recently launched the Techno Girl Alumni Association, which establishes a mentoring relationship with graduates and current attendees of the program. This aims to provide even more support to younger girls with dreams of becoming doctors, scientists and engineers. As the program continues to launch more a more empowered, educated girls into STEM careers, it looks forward to seeing the demographics of these professions shift more fairly towards females.

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