Prof. Marianne Vanderschuren, Deputy Dean Transformation and Social Responsiveness in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Cape Town
This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Prof. Marianne Vanderschuren, the Deputy Dean Transformation and Social Responsiveness in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Cape Town. She is also NRF/DSI CSIR Co-funded Smart Mobility Chair, President South African Institution of Civil Engineering 2022, FSAICE, FICE. The civil engineering discipline tends to be associated with large scale infrastructure, like high-rise buildings, bridges, water management, and transportation systems, such as roads, railways, canals, harbours and airports.
Prof. Vanderschuren has a particular interest in transportation. One of her research areas addresses gender safety in public spaces, which acknowledges that women in Africa face sexual harassment and violence during their commutes. This research considers how females can travel more safely through social and infrastructure interventions. Social interventions include travelling with people they know (passengers and drivers), and having access to security applications either on their phone or physical buttons to raise an alarm. Infrastructure-wise CCTV cameras, proper lighting and reducing deserted areas aid the safety of female commuters.
Prof. Vanderschuren shares some of her motivations to pursue a career in civil engineering with an emphasis on transport, noting that the field is gradually transforming from a male biased one to accepting women. She is a member of several professional organisations and highlights the value of these networks for the growth of individuals and development of the collective.
Prof. Vanderschuren encourages women to believe in themselves and pursue their passion, reminding people that is ok to be the outlier as long as you stay true to yourself. Tune in for more…