Reasons for Poor Visibility of Women in Science and Science-Related Careers in Swaziland

  • M.M. Keregero Faculty of Agriculture, University of Swaziland, Luyengo Campus, Swaziland
  • K. Simelane Faculty of Agriculture, University of Swaziland, Luyengo Campus, Swaziland

Abstract

A study sought to examine the visibility of women in science and science-related careers in Swaziland. The specific objectives were to describe the cultural and traditional barriers to participation of women in science and science-related careers; and to identify factors associated with the occupation of high profile positions by women. The study utilized the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) involving 16 purposively selected University student, distributed equally by sex. It also utilized a mailed questionnaire involving a purposively selected sample of 67 female and 22 male professionals in agriculture. The questionnaire was checked for validity and reliability and found to be suitable. The findings revealed that the visibility of women in science and science-related careers is poor and can be attributed to traditional and cultural barriers, which relate, directly or indirectly, to symbolic and verbal acts that women are differentially exposed to in the process of socialization. There was unanimous agreement among respondents with regard to factors associated with attitudes of male colleagues, and overwhelming agreement regarding factors associated with employment policies, which influenced the visibility of agricultural professionals. There was agreement regarding the majority of the items pertaining to factors associated with educational opportunities and family and society. However, opinion was more or less divided with regard to factors associated with female professionals. The need for a gender and women's policy to address imbalances arising from the male-female dichotomy in employment was recommended.

UNISWA Research Journal of Agriculture, Science and Technology Vol. 4 (2) 2000: pp 181-189
Published
2004-04-26
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 1029-9645