As we celebrate international mining day, it is equally important to acknowledge the role of women in the industry and the strides taken by the industry towards a future that is more accepting of women.

The mining industry in South Africa has come a long way since the introduction of the Mining Charter in 2002 which did away with the exclusion of women to participate in underground work, resulting in limited career options for women in mining. The same Mining Charter revolutionised the industry for women by enforcing quotas urging mining companies to employ a 10% female staff quota. Those who still question the effectiveness of this legislation need to remember that in the year 2000, females only made up 2% of the entire mining workforce in South Africa. 20 years later, that number has increased by 10% making female representation in the mining workforce 12%.

While we may have hoped that female representation across the industry could have been higher, the progress made so far has opened opportunities for women to be heard. It has enabled women to compete with their male counterparts in this industry that was formerly regarded as a man’s world.

The opportunities created by this revolution have resulted in us seeing a rise in great, powerful, and inspiring women within the industry. Women have carved careers for themselves despite conditions which are typically not as favourable as those of their male counterparts.

These women continue to pave the way for gender equality and employment. Their rising numbers are valuable to the future of the industry as it creates an opportunity to pass the baton to other upcoming young women who, in the future, will find it easier to pursue their careers as a result of the efforts by us , the women in mining today… and so, we celebrate you as we celebrate international mining day! Not only did the revolution give us great female leaders and role models in the industry, but it made it possible for women in the industry to understand that their voices deserve to be heard.

This has resulted in the formation of various women’s forums that enable women to influence legislation in creating better working conditions for females in mining environments.

Forums such as WIMSA (women in mining south Africa) that has recently been part of creating the white paper on women in mining for the minerals council; and our very own Women-at-Work forum that continues to empower and give voice to all women at South 32 Hillside Aluminium Smelter.

We celebrate all of you and the contributions you continue to make toward the betterment of the mining industry. Happy Miner’s Day!


Comments are closed.