Speaking at an event to mark International Women’s Day in Cape Town last week, Pandor said without incentives that support and recognise women in research, significant change was unlikely to take place.
Pandor also expressed concern that women were not encouraged to be scientists.
The minister said science had improved people’s lives immensely. “Science has helped us gain an understanding of how human activity is warming the climate, and what impact that will have on food and water security, and, crucially, what needs to be done to slow or reverse the warming trend.”
She added: “There is always one particular breakthrough in science and technology that each of us counts as special. For women the breakthrough last year in the prevention of AIDS is particularly significant – the proof that ARV treatment is also a prevention of transmission to a partner – because women are particularly at risk of HIV infection.”
With regard to poverty, Pandor said it was a major factor affecting the participation of both girls and boys in the education system. “The challenges of accessing quality education and remaining in educational institutions are greatest for poor people.”