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Female civil engineers question roles in sector following Pillay comments

South African Institution of Civil Engineering CEO Manglin Pillay has been widely criticised for what some have described as sexist comments about women in the sector.

Women in the civil engineering sector are questioning their position in the male-dominated industry and whether they are being taken seriously. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Women in the civil engineering sector have questioned their position in the male-dominated industry and whether they are being taken seriously.

South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) CEO Manglin Pillay has been widely criticised for what some have described as sexist comments about women in the sector.

Pillay questioned whether the country should be investing heavily to attract women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.

Kamentha Pillay, a civil engineer, wrote a blog in reply to the comments made by the CEO, saying they are irresponsible and incorrect.

“He’s made women now question... 'do I hop between a career and being an engineer or being in this field?' And that shouldn’t be the question.”

Another civil engineer, Carol Molemane, says that earlier in her career she had to work long hours to prove herself in the male-dominated space.

“Back when I was a student, he asked me what were the chances of me making it because I’m female, as chances are very little.”

Although Pillay has apologised and backtracked on his comments, women say the damage has already been done.

WATCH: Women Engineers: The fight for equality continues

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