Where are the women in science professions?
Imbalances in the number of women working in science professions, their distribution in certain fields of science and the role they play in technological innovations in South Africa will be some of the topics to top the agenda at the upcoming Bio2Biz conference taking place in Durban from September 20 to 23.
The conference is a workshop involving some of the country’s leading bioscience & biotechnology brains together with business leaders who will be looking at ways to develop partnerships between these two worlds. Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, Chair of SAWISE (Association of South African Women in Science and Engineering) said this week that although the number of women in science was increasing, there were still “a huge number of problems” that needed to be surpassed. “Women still tend to be employed at lower ranks and more often than not, they tend to be on contract positions,” she said. The “dire” shortage of black women in the sciences needed to be “actively addressed” as did the shortage of women in the “hard” sciences of engineering, mathematics and physics.
The Women in Bio Business session was held on Monday September 21 and included a presentation by Dr Elizabeth Freeman who is the Executive Director of Legacy Direct Inc. and Senior Advisor for Fellows Program at the Biotechnology Institute , Dr Sibongile Gumbi who is the Managing Director of Smart Innovation, and Dr Maritha Kotze, the MD of Gknowmix.