Malebogo Gloria Moja

I believe that it starts from families and society where one grows up. As a society we need to stop the stereotypical attitude of telling girls that they can only do certain works and not others based on their gender. We need to give every child an opportunity to explore and find their interest in any field they may desire.

Country of origin

South Africa

Which company do you work for?

Veng Group

What is your specific area of specialisation?

Metallurgical Engineering

How long have you been in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math’s (STEM) fields?

17 years

As a woman in a male dominated industry, what has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge for me has been to be looked down upon because of my petite body structure and sometimes I do not have the physical strength to do certain activities and require assistance from the male colleagues, so you would get comments like “you said you can do the job, why do you need men to help?” How I dealt with this was to always communicate with my colleagues and to ensure as well as emphasize that we are a team. For them to do their job they need me and for me to do my job I need them, regardless of our gender. I am happy that we understood each other, and we can all work together, though there are times they may bring up the gender card, but I never let that deter me.

What inspired you to join this industry?

My brother Chris. When I was in high school, he told me about careers in mining, I started looking into it and I found metallurgical engineering interesting. Furthermore, I also wanted to contribute and be part of the team that can preserve our country’s natural resources.

What changes, if any, have you seen with regards to women in your field?

I have seen that there are new designs of PPE suitable for women. More women are moving up to the management and higher positions as compared to the yesteryears, also in the hard labour positions like boiler makers and fitters. More respect from men for women in the industry. Mining companies are empowering women by supporting the Women in Mining South Africa (WIMSA) structure.

How can we attract more women to consider a career in the STEM fields?

I believe that it starts from families and society where one grows up. As a society we need to stop the stereotypical attitude of telling girls that they can only do certain works and not others based on their gender. We need to give every child an opportunity to explore and find their interest in any field they may desire. We need to create a platform that shows the girls that they can be astronauts, brain surgeons, robotic engineers, car designers, miners and anything in between. We can visit primary and secondary schools to encourage the young girls that there are more opportunities to be great. We can organise science expos and let the girls meet the different STEM teams of beautiful ladies who can help them with fun experiments and sharing their stories.

If you were to advise other young women starting their careers in the tech or within the STEM fields, what is the one thing you would say to them?

I would tell them to be themselves. Stand firm in what you believe in and in your values. Do not allow anyone to tell you that your dreams are too high or that you won’t reach them. You can do anything you want. STEM will come with challenges just like any other field, just remember never to quit on yourself.

When not working, what do you do for fun?

I hike, travel both locally and internationally, I also like spending some time with my family watching movies.

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