Fall of engineering CEO a warning to patriarchal men - Gender Commission

Men who speak "loosely" will be dealt with and should learn from the termination of chief executive of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) Manglin Pillay for his comments about women, says the Gender Commission.

"We applaud the [SAICE] board’s decision to terminate him. It sends a very strong message," spokesperson for the Commission for Gender Equality Javu Baloyi told Fin24 on Friday.

SAICE president Errol Kerst said in a statement on Thursday that the engineering group's board had decided to part ways with Pillay following public outrage over his July column in a trade magazine, where he questioned whether government should be investing in women in science, technology, engineering and maths, as females are better suited towards caring or people-oriented careers.

Baloyi said that the outrage by activists, civil society and the public over the issue should act as a warning to patriarchal men.

SAICE's board held an emergency meeting in August and decided to accept Pillay apology and retain him in his position. He committed to undertake diversity training and counsel from women engineers. 

But the engineering body said on Thursday that  they received numerous responses from concerned members about Pillay and they could not ignore them.

The Commission for Gender Equality has previously requested that government departments and private sector companies such as mining houses should appear and explain their diversity strategies. 

Baloyi said the Chapter 9 Institution would also ask the civil engineering industry to appear and explain their plans to increase the number of women in the sector.

Fin24 previously reported that female engineers complained of sexist experiences in the male-dominated industry, from incorrect safety clothing and men-only toilets, to sexual harassment.

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