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Meet the TechnoGirls – South Africa’s future STEM leaders

Women remain underrepresented in STEM careers, so developing and nurturing girls’ interest and skills is crucial as we work to close the gap.

14 Jun 20243 minute read

In South Africa, where research from the World Bank showed that increasing the number of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs could lead to a 25% increase in the country’s GDP, we have partnered with the TechnoGirl Trust to help expose more girls from underprivileged backgrounds to careers STEM. 

Currently, only 13% of girls in higher education in South Africa study STEM, and many leave school without the competencies required to move into technical careers in STEM fields. We want to see these facts change. 


Angela Naef Headshot 02 1

“The journey toward greater gender equity in STEM careers is a collective effort. For me it is about being a role-model for others. I see it as my job, wherever I am in the world, to inspire and make STEM and science a really awesome place to be for all young people, whatever their background”.

Angela Naef

Chief R&D Officer, Reckitt

Our CEO, Kris Licht, and CHRO, Ranjay Radhakrishnan, recently met with a group of girls taking part in the TechnoGirl programme and who are currently in year 10, at schools local to our Johannesburg office. Many are from townships or less economically advantaged communities, and all have bold aspirations to be the leaders of the future, supported by their further studies in STEM subjects. The students shared their vision boards, which they use to help themselves articulate their dreams and aspirations - being given the opportunity to do this is a major step in visualising, then building the future they want for themselves. 

Prisca Headshot

"I grew up in a Soweto township. My mother was away for a month at a time as a domestic worker, and I was raised by my Grandmother. Although I was bright and a keen student, with good grades in maths and science, I was often overlooked for additional learning opportunities as my teachers, though well-meaning, assumed my family could not afford the bus fare to Saturday classes. In working with the TechnoGirl students, I want them to find the mentors and role models I would have loved to have had growing up. Seeing young girls being inspired by each other and the opportunities the TechnoGirl programme provides them with gives me absolute assurance that the future talent pipeline for Reckitt is strong, and I can’t wait to have a full circle moment when I hope some of these bright young women finish their studies and come and work with us."

Prisca Langa

Talent Acquisition Manager, Africa and TechnoGirl Programme Lead

Through our work with TechnoGirl, we are widening girls’ horizons with job shadowing, mentoring and bursary schemes to support their STEM education. In order to see themselves in a STEM career, girls need to be inspired to succeed and exposed to the opportunities available. Those taking part in our TechnoGirl programme receive help with subject choices and guidance into the right degree programmes.

Research continues to show that diverse teams can unlock innovation and drive growth.  Despite women’s representation in the global workforce growing in recent years, there is still a fair way to go to close the gap in terms of women’s place in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Women comprise only 28.2% of the STEM workforce, compared to a much more balanced proportion of 47.3% in non-STEM sectors. Only one-tenth of STEM leaders are women.