In our previous blog post we outlined our motivation for partnering with CZ Electronics (CZ) in order to bring our quality locally manufactured AIM products to customers. The fact that CZ is a leader in technology in Africa was not however the only reason. 

Women make up a large part of Pick ‘n Pay’s national team. We believe that to empower women is to empower our country. To that end it was important to us that our AIM partner share in those values. CZ also values and empowers women.

The growing pandemic of disenfranchised South Africans has been identified as the biggest single threat to South Africa’s future prosperity. One of the areas where this is particularly pronounced is in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

This imbalance that disproportionately affects women in the technology sector is unlikely to be remedied unless organisations work to change entrenched practices and perceptions within STEM industries. .

So, why is this important to us? Why is it important to us here and at CZ Electronics to see more women in the STEM industries?

This is important to us for a number of reasons:
• Women are under-represented in these fields, where pay is generally better than in non-STEM jobs. Economists at PwC estimate that if we close the gender gap in both representation and pay gap by just 10%, South Africa could achieve higher economic growth. This means that when we empower women, we also empower our economy.
• The key to resolving South Africa’s critical skills shortages, and ensuring the country is geared up for a digital future, lies in increasing the number of women educated and employed in STEM fields.
• Eight of the top 10 scarce-skills occupations in South Africa are STEM-related. Demand for technical skills and innovation capacity will only increase with the rise of the digital economy which is driven by rapid advances in 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) technology.
• Closing the gender gap also helps to alleviate poverty: low-income households will receive an estimated 2.9% more income than previously.

It is clear to us that encouraging women into STEM would not only reduce the overall shortage of scarce and critical skills, but also strengthen women’s economic empowerment by moving them to the stability of the formal economy.
CZ Electronics has embraced this challenge of creating opportunity and inclusion for women in our industry. They meet this challenge in two ways:
• Through their Employment Practices: the majority of their 300 strong workforce are previously disadvantaged women.
• Through their Ulwazi Empowerment Initiative. Investment in their employees’ education and training serves a dual purpose – it provides opportunity for people to better their lives, professionally and personally, while also creating a depth of talent

CZ Electronics believes that we need to create a generation of women workers in STEM that can enable a knowledge economy. THIS is just another reason why Pick ‘n Pay/AIM chose CZ as our electronics partner.

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