The disparities that exist between men and women, and more so working mothers, in the participation of science,
technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine and innovation (STEMMI) are a global concern.2 In the past,
efforts to address gender inequalities in STEMMI progressed at a slower pace because of the fragmented nature of
gender equality advocacy efforts. In explicitly defining gender equality as a goal for sustainable development (SDG
5), there is renewed vigour in the pursuit of solutions to address discrimination on the basis of gender.3 Challenges
that constrain women’s full participation in political, economic and public life are being identified, and as a result
policies and strategies, including those concerning women in STEMMI in developing countries like South Africa,
are being reviewed to ensure that the gender gap is reduced.