Advocating for More Women in Science Is Personal

Feb 10, 2021 5:50 PM ET

If you ask Ntokozo Sithole – the general manager at Kimberly-Clark’s Enstra manufacturing facility in South Africa – what drives her to succeed daily, she’ll say without hesitation, “having more women in manufacturing and science, especially in leadership roles.”

Ntokozo says science has always been part of her life. She studied science and engineering in the 1990’s and has been in the industry for 28 years. She remembers the environment for a woman in science back then as less than welcoming.  

“I wasn’t allowed in certain areas of a plant,” she explained. “I was given soft projects and positions and did not have female ablutions facilities or uniforms that fit well. Although a lot has changed over the years, there are still subtle ways that women can feel undermined, sidelined, ignored and unfairly compared to men who had better exposure and support.” 

That’s why it’s Ntokozo’s personal mission to champion female scientists and make sure they don’t have the same negative experience. 

“I always make a conscious effort to support other women to enter the industry, and I coach, guide and mentor to enable them to move ahead. I bring a different leadership style that is empathetic, supportive and creative with a focus on driving sustainable results.”

She’s proud to say that Kimberly-Clark is a great place for female scientists to work.

“I’m grateful to work at a place like Kimberly-Clark where my voice is valued, and where I have an opportunity every day to leverage my unique strengths and make essential products that improve people’s lives.”

Science is the heart of what we do at Kimberly-Clark. All around the world, women like Ntokozo are smashing stereotypes as leaders in science, and we applaud you on this year's International Day of Women and Girls in Science.