SAICE chief executive Manglin Pillay. LinkedIn
JOHANNESBURG - The Future of South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) chief executive Manglin Pillay is believed to be on the agenda of an emergency meeting today following the outrage over his questioning of investing heavily to attract women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. 

Pillay made the remarks in an article published in the July 2018 edition of Civil Engineering Magazine. 

The SAICE’s board on Monday distanced itself from what it referred to as “this unfortunate article”. 

SAICE spokesperson Marie Ashpole confirmed that the executive board would hold a previously unscheduled meeting today and said it was related to Pillay. 

It is believed that the meeting will, among other things, decide on Pillay’s future. 

The board said Pillay’s views did not represent opinions of SAICE’s membership. 

It said the SAICE remained committed to inclusivity, being non-partisan, non-sexist, racially diverse, transparent and taking responsibility.

“The rhetoric used is not worthy of what women have accomplished over the past century or more. 

Along with the article, the photo that accompanied the article on Facebook has a derogative feel, putting women where they ‘belong’ and limiting the roles of people,” it said. 

In the article, Pillay said: “Given that money, time and resources are constrained, and evidence pointing to women being predisposed to caring and people careers, should we be investing so heavily in attracting women into STEM careers, specifically engineering, or should we invest it in creating more gender-equal societies?” 

Pillay said the most striking was that, of almost 6000 professionally registered members, only 5 percent were women.