What you need to know:
- According to a 2019 UNESCO report, women, and girls, particularly at the higher levels of education, are largely under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which is also known as STEM.
Uganda currently has less than a third of science women researchers.
This highlights the low levels of women representation when it comes to matters that drive innovation, social-economic, and cultural transformation, among others.
According to a 2019 UNESCO report, women, and girls, particularly at the higher levels of education, are largely under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which is also known as STEM.
The data above is a result of many factors but is largely attributed to the low level of enrolment of girls in STEM-related education.
This is worsened by low and poor performance levels for those who get the courage to enroll and high dropout rates at all levels of the education value chain.
Of course, there are other social factors, which therefore, calls for everyone’s involvement, especially when it comes to corporate organisations.
As Coca-Cola Beverages Uganda (CCBU), we have taken steps to address the gap between women and men in STEM careers.
For instance, we have put in place an inclusive and equal employment opportunity agenda, which allows both men and women to compete for science-related jobs.
Beyond this, we have intentionally included women in leadership positions through the Women in Leadership (WIL) programme, through which, we hire women into leadership team.
This is premised on the belief that some of Uganda’s and Africa’s problems such as access to clean water, manufacturing, developing renewable energy, fighting diseases, technology, and transport can be solved through involving and promoting women in STEM-related jobs.
In many of our markets across Africa, promotion of sustainable goals on the social and economic front, is highly placed on economic inclusion with women and youth encouraged to embrace STEM education and careers.
For instance, in countries such as Ghana, we have partnered with Girls in Science and Technology, a non-government organisation that takes girls through robotics training sessions.
We have also put in place a bursary fund in different universities across Africa to support female science students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Girls in Science and Technology’s mission seeks to place women and youth into mentorship and coaching programmes that they need for a successful and impactful STEM career.
In Uganda, we have a Learning and Development function that encourages continuous improvement with a well set up e-learning system, which has benefited some of the women in STEM positions.
This has helped some of our key staff such as Enid Namiiro, the CCBU safety, health, environmental and quality manager, to gain confidence as a woman in a largely male-dominated sector.
Such staff have been mentored and supported to fit in in the ever evolving world of STEM careers as well as becoming more knowledgeable.
Therefore, during celebration to celebrate the 8th International Day of Women and Girls in Science, as we have always done, we pledged to continuously support women and girls in STEM through various initiatives.
Catherine Gita is the human resource director for people and culture at Coca-Cola Beverages Uganda