AIMS South Africa hosted a variety of events from 6-11 March 2017 to celebrate International Women’s Day as part of the AIMS Women in Stem initiative. Events included outreach to secondary schools where learners were given the opportunity to listen to female role models who encouraged them to follow careers in STEM fields.

Schools visited included Masiphumelele High School and Muizenberg High School. AIMS South Africa also hosted a public lecture by Prof. NP Makunga, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, who gave a talk titled: ‘Plants for human health: venturing into traditions of old with a biotechnological toolkit.’ In her talk, she encouraged the audience to share their research with a general public “If you want to be part of the knowledge economy, it is crucial to keep the science message going, and to be able to use all the different communication platforms.”

A social media campaign was run in which photos of AIMS staff, lecturers and students appeared with their message on what they would say to inspire young girls to study STEM.

A follow-up Women in STEM mentoring session was held on 11 March to inspire and empower AIMS women students and alumni to achieve their full potential so that they can empower girls and young women in their communities.

The week of activities was organised by Dr Rejoyce Gavhi-Molefe with the assistance of staff from AIMS South Africa and AIMSSEC, researchers and AIMS alumni.