The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (Saice) has decided to part ways with its CEO Manglin Pillay, after he penned a controversial opinion piece on women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) careers.
Following outraged reactions to the article, titled ‘Out on a Rib’, by various industry members, including Aurecon and Women in Engineering, the Saice board handled the matter internally and accepted an apology from Pillay, initially confirming that he would remain Saice CEO.
However, Saice has now considered all feedback, both critical and supportive, with regarding to Pillay’s role within Saice and concluded that Pillay’s tenure should be terminated with immediate effect.
Pillay came under fire last month for the article in which he said women in the fields of Stem choose to have the flexibility to dedicate themselves to enterprises such as family and the raising of children, rather than be at the beck and call of shareholders.
“The fact that more men occupy high profile executive posts is tremendous, not because of gender, but because of an appetite for work load,” he remarked in the opinion piece, which has been circulated on social media and which was published in Saice’s Civil Engineering magazine’s July edition.
He also stated that it is owing to maternal instinct that women are more amenable than men – “to avoid conflict in managing babies” – and are therefore less likely to negotiate higher salaries.
Pillay questioned whether the industry should be investing so heavily in attracting women into Stem careers, or whether there should be investment into creating more gender-equal societies.