Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, an opportunity to appreciate the critical role women and girls play in science and technology.
This day is celebrated annually on the 11th of February and implemented by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN-Women. The day is aimed at promoting full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.
This Day is a salient reminder that women and girls play a pivotal role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened.
Some members of the Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies squad have had the distinction of bagging an academic degree(s) within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) discipline, an incredible feat.
One of such is striker Boitumelo Rabale who has an Associate of Science with a major in Electrical Engineering.
“Excelling at football and academics simultaneously is no small feat and it came at a cost. I had to master the art of time management and discipline in meeting up with the rigours of juggling both responsibilities. I am living proof that women can flourish in the Math and Science fields if they are dedicated and determined to learn these courses,” the Banyana Ba Style striker stated.
Rabale also spoke highly of one of her leading inspirations in the electrical engineering field – Nigeria’s Dr. Ozak Esu, an award-winning chartered electronic and electrical engineer.
“Dr. Esu is a true inspiration to me because she has proven that engineering is a prestigious career with diverse routes and global opportunities that encourages creativity, ingenuity and collaboration. Her gigantic strides in the energy sector has motivated me throughout the years.”
Africa’s chronic power problems have escalated into a crisis where over 600 million people are without access to electricity (Forbes, 2021). Rabale believes addressing these incessant electricity issues remains one of her long-term goals.
“As an electrical engineer, it is sad to see the deplorable state of electricity production in Africa. If I had the opportunity, I would ensure that government policies are initiated and implemented to boost the viability and efficiency of the power sectors across the continent.”
Few players choose to study during their playing career, given the demands that both roles require. However, several members of the Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies team have taken it all in their stride and thus far, they have been excellent both on the pitch and in the classroom.
The likes of Thalea Smidt (Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Biotechnology, Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honours in Plant Science and Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Innovation), Bongiwe Thusi (Sports and Remedial Massage Therapy), Oratile Mokwena (Diploma in Public Relations), Nthabiseng Matshaba (Diploma in Business Administration) and Rhoda Mulaudzi (Sports Exercises and Conditioning Psychology) have all bagged degrees.
Impressively, some others are studying towards one such as vice-captain Karabo Makhurubetshi (Psychology), Chuene Morifi (Microsoft certifications), Andisiwe Mgcoyi (Football Conditioning) while the duo of Coach Agnes Nkosi and Andile Dlamini hold Coaching C Licenses.
While the 11th of February marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the 12th of February is Darwin Day, a celebration to commemorate the birthday of world-renowned scientist, naturalist and evolutionist Charles Darwin. He is often known as the Father of Human Evolution.
To all the scientists out there, we wish you all the very best as you celebrate these exciting days!