Uganda currently has less than a third of science women researchers, which highlights the low levels of women representation when it comes to matters that drive innovation, and 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 (STEM) education. This has been attributed to the low enrolment of girls in STEM-related education, degraded by poor performance, and high dropout rates at all levels of the education value chain.
Coca-Cola Beverages Uganda (CCBU) has taken strides to address the gap between women and men in STEM careers. The company operates on an inclusive and equal employment opportunity agenda allowing for both men and women to compete for science jobs.
CCBU is conscious of societal issues going further to intentionally include women in leadership positions through its Women in Leadership (WIL) program with ambitious goals of successfully hiring women into the country's leadership team.
“At CCBU we believe that some of Uganda’s and Africa’s problems like access to clean water, manufacturing, developing renewable energy, fighting diseases, technology, and transport could be solved through involving and promoting a good number of women in STEM,” said Catherine Gita, the Human Resource Manager of CCBU.
In the various African markets that Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) operates, the promotion of sustainability goals on social and economic aspects is highly placed to accommodate the economic inclusion of women and youth that helps to embrace women in STEM education and careers.
For example, in countries like Ghana, the company partnered with Girls in Science and Technology (GIST), a non-government organisation where girls took part in a robotics training session. Over the years, the company has also put in place a bursary fund in different universities across Africa to support female science students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
GIST’s mission aligns with Voltic’s passion for women and youth empowerment, providing them with the mentorship and coaching they need for a successful and impactful STEM career, and exposing them to opportunities in the STEM industry. CCBU has a Learning and Development function that encourages continuous improvement with a well set up e-learning system that has benefited some of the women in STEM positions.
“Working with CCBU has built my confidence as a woman in a male-dominated sector. The science world is ever evolving and with the available support, through the continuous mentoring and training, I have become more knowledgeable and attained a competitive advantage in my line of work as it is heavily science-based,” said Enid Namiiro the Safety, Health, Environmental and Quality Manager at CCBU.
As the world celebrates the 8th International Day of Women and Girls in Science, CCBU has pledged to continuously support women and girls in STEM through the various initiatives it undertakes.