As the country wraps up Women’s Month, KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, says more research by women aimed at alleviating the plight of other women should be prioritised by government, academia, industries and NGOs.

“The dearth in research, especially by women, is intertwined with a lack of research funding. It’s one thing to call for more African women researchers and another to put the money where our mouths are,” Dube-Ncube said.

Delivering the keynote address at the Women in Research dialogue, organised by the Moses Kotane Institute (MKI), Dube-Ncube commended the technology institution for having created many critical platforms for the exchange of ideas and releasing reports that have been instrumental in guiding government’s Programme of Action.

“Proper and life-changing research is expensive to conduct and it requires financial resources, support and critical input. The KwaZulu-Natal government realised this gap and challenge, which led to the birth of the Moses Kotane Institute. I am proud that such a glorious institution is led by a strong woman, whose passion transcends the duty of their office,” Dube-Ncube said.

The MEC said many women, especially in rural areas, have problems with mobility, and technology provides an opportunity for them to be economically active without having to deal with the challenges of mobility.

“I am well aware that the Department of Higher Education and Training pumps funding into our institutes of higher learning. However, I am not happy that much of that funding does not go to research [and] if it were, we would not have such an acute lack of research produced by African women.

“Another trend we should be frowning upon is that research funding must not only go to a selected few individuals, but must be allocated equitably so that it benefits our women,” she said.

The MEC said government is in serious need of research to ramp up its programmes.

“Government is focusing on programmes to enhance the skills and knowledge of not only our public servants but our stakeholders too, whose input in government’s daily work ought to be informed by thorough research.

“It should be a key strategy of this entity that the scarce skills we have in research and digitally-driven programmes are prioritised, particular if we want to ensure that the research programmes and their impact are taken to previously disadvantaged communities, especially those in township and rural areas,” the MEC said.

An array of other research areas to enhance economic growth need to be prioritised in order to cater to women.

“We need research by women that will support KZN priority sectors like agro-processing, ICT and innovation, industrial development, manufacturing, value addition and beneficiation. This should go with research on how to improve the global competitiveness of KZN companies, many of whom are led by our distinguished women.

“There is an urgent need to delve into research focusing on strategies to modernise the KwaZulu-Natal economy and how it can develop smart cities in the province, while increasing the depth of technology for value addition and beneficiation by women for women.

“Women-led research should grapple with empowerment models to deal with inequalities in societies, while also rebuilding social cohesion in KwaZulu-Natal,” Dube-Ncube said. –

Source: South African Government News Agency

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