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Last night, Medo hosted a discussion and presentation of its Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) programme. The event took place in Cape Town, with the young school girls telling the guests about their experiences and even brainstorming ideas on how the city can solve the problem of cable theft that affects the running of trains.
Across industries, gender inequality is a white elephant that comfortably and has always sat right in the middle of these industries.
Science and technology is one of these industries. Companies like Uber and Microsoft and others have had to address this in different ways. Medo’s programme is along these other efforts to lure more women into the technology industry.
The programme is being conducted in collaboration with Isuzu trucks and Morehead State University in the USA, the worldwide leading institution and innovator of the nano satellite formats called CubeSat and PocketCubes.
The programme focuses on young women in high school, with the ultimate aim of these young women constructing the payload to be launched with Africa’s first ever private satellite. The launch of this is scheduled to happen in the first and second quarter of 2016.
The STEM programme was launched on 16 June 2015. MEDO identified that there is a considerable shortage of technical skills required to fulfil the technical needs of businesses in South Africa.
The company wants to develop these skills at school level, opening up opportunities for more Learners to study further in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
“The intention of this programme is not to be a once off – it is to be the start of at least a decade-long drive to inspire young people to enter the science and technical fields”. Judi Sandrock, CEO of MEDO says.
The company was clear last night that this programme is not an attempt to replace the education system curriculum but rather the programme is to give students practical experience. Present at the event was City Councilor Gareth Bloor, made it clear that the city excited about help young women with support to start businesses and financial support.
During the programme, the students took part in a workshop and were introduced to electronics and the basics of practical science. This workshop culminated into the students building from scratch their own Jiggy Bot. The robot had to be controlled with movement, light and sound.
Other parts of the programme include week long camps called SPACETrek. During these camps which are held during school holidays, young women chosen from the earlier workshop will design their satellite payload experiments, and test them using high altitude weather balloons and radio communication.
During the event, the students admitted that, over the last few days, they have reconsidered their chosen careers after their minds were enriched about science, technology, engineering and maths.
With programmes likes these, women might begin to think it is a possibility for them to have a career in a male dominated industry and that is the perfect start.