2017 Tutu Fellow Hema Vallabh spoke at a TEDx event in Johannesburg about how she realized that young girls weren’t considering becoming engineers because it was a job for men only. She tried to find the source of this misconception and found it was in the definition of traditional engineering as being a space of strength and physical ability.

She makes the case that the needs of society nowadays should be addressed with the new definition of engineering as a space of innovation and invention, which are skills that women have. She wants to bring the information to a young generation of women who otherwise might be excluded from considering the profession.

Being the co-founder of WomEng and WomHb, Hema has developed targeted programs and interventions to address the severe shortage of women in engineering. She is also the Founder of The Passionate Professional, a leadership incubator focused on developing leaders through mentorship, and an associate at the IDM Business School, where she is the Program Director for the School of Mentorship. Hema makes it clear that she doesn’t aim to exclude men from this profession or say that all women should become engineers, but that there should be better representation for women in the profession.

Watch her talk here:









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About AFLI



The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.