Civil engineering body SAICE calls emergency meeting over CEO’s comments about women

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The organisation said in a statement that it was aware of the current controversy caused after Pillay penned a column in the July Civil Engineering magazine questioning whether the country should be investing so heavily into attracting females into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects as evidence showed women were “predisposed” to caring and people-orientated careers.  SAICE came under pressure to act after lobby group advocating for women in engineering, WomEng, called on the organisation to “rethink their choice of CEO” and the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) said it would be requesting a meeting with SAICE to discuss transformation in the civil engineering sector.

SAICE’s executive board issued a statement last week distancing itself from Pillay’s comments.  “In this unfortunate article, Pillay’s views in no way reflect the views of SAICE’s membership of 12,000,” the board stated.  According to figures Pillay quoted in his column, out of SAICE’s almost 16,000 strong database, 17% were women and out of the 6% professionally registered members, just 5% were female.

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