Who knew that women Engineers were becoming an endangered species? On #ImpactThursday we delve into the life and passions of South African Civil Engineer Naadiya Moosajee who co-founded a non-profit organization, WomEng to help develop the next generation of female engineers in Africa.
Founded as SAWomEng in 2006, WomEng, is a global organization aimed at attracting, developing and nurturing the next generation of women engineering leaders. Only one in ten engineers in South Africa are women and WomEng is working hard to change the stats. Over the past nine years, they have worked tirelessly to develop the next generation of engineering leaders in society.
“It’s such a proud moment for me to have these girls come up to me and say: “Naadiya, you have changed my life. I’m an Engineer because of you.” Naadiya commented in an interview with the BBC and that is a pointer to the passion with which she pursues her purpose.
Naadiya Moosajee holds a both a bachelor and a Master degree in Civil Engineering and is a Board Director at Pegasys Strategy Development. She is a board member for the International Youth Foundation based in Baltimore as well as an African Regional Board member for Frost & Sullivan Global Innovation Leadership Institute. She is a YouthActionNet Global Leadership Fellow and an African Leadership Network Fellow.
Naadiya has won numerous leadership awards including CEO Magazine’s Most Influential Woman of the Year, Frost & Sullivan Global Innovation Leadership Award, Top 100 Brightest minds in South Africa and M&G Top Young South African.
She is also proof that female Engineers can be just as fashionable as anyone else as she recently founded a fashion house, Naadiya M. which designs, manufactures and retails elegant business and evening wear for women.
According to WomEng.com, “The shortage of Engineers is a global issue. The number of women in Engineering has been of particular concern as women are still grossly under-represented, with the percentage of women graduates in engineering still below 20% in many countries, and the number of women in the sector being much lower. In a global economy with rising unemployment and a desperate need of scarce skills, increasing the number of women in engineering within any company or country is a competitive advantage. An increase in the number of female Engineers not only assists with the critical skills gap but has further ramifications such as service delivery and adequate access to basic services, provide more collaborative approaches to solutions and women engineers provide value in creating products which are better suited to targeting the 52% of the population who hold 80% of household purchasing power (i.e Women).”
How does WomEng implement its programs? The organization engages in practical workshops on Engineering education, attraction and retention of females into the engineering sector, skills development including leadership development, innovative problem solving and mentorship.
Through the WomEng pipeline, they have created GirlEng, which attracts high potential math and science students, nurtures and mentors them to enter the study of engineering.
WomEng started its programs in South Africa, while WomEng Kenya started in 2014. They are set to establish a presence in other countries in Africa, as an appropriate solution to the skills needs on the continent. At the last count, they had over 8, 000 beneficiaries of their programs, but they are not stopping anytime soon.
I daresay we can heave a sigh of relief… with WomEng hard at work, female Engineers will not become an extinct species.
What are you doing about the problems that you perceive in the larger society?