A South African engineer sacked for ‘sexist’ column

A South African business leader has been sacked following outrage over his views in an article which questioned whether women were suited for high-profile careers.

South African Institution of Civil Engineering (Saice) said it had terminated Manglin Pillay’s position as CEO with immediate effect.

Saice president Errol Kerst said in a statement on Thursday that the board had spent many hours “carefully deliberating the matter” after receiving “numerous responses” from concerned members about Mr Pillay.

In the group’s magazine in July Mr Pillay wrote in a column that women were better suited to “more important enterprises, like family and raising children, [rather] than to be at the beck and call of shareholders”.

He wondered whether there should be investment in attracting women to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

He wrote that “most women” at a certain age “prefer to work part-time or dedicate themselves completely to child rearing or pursuing other meaningful exploits related to caring”‚

Saice had initially accepted Mr Pillay’s apology and promise to undergo diversity training.

However, Mr Kerst said on Thursday that it would have been remiss of Saice not to take the views of its members seriously.

Social media users have reacted to the news, with some describing it as a victory for women in science.

However, during an interview with Talk Radio 702 in August, Pillay said he was misquoted.

“A lot of things are taken out of context. I think the question is, do we support women in Stem (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers? I say absolutely. Generally speaking, women bring unique talents to engineering… In South Africa, we do need more women in Stem careers.”

[LISTEN] Manglin Pillay denies saying women don’t belong in engineering

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