In this month when International Women’s Day is celebrated, the Minerals Council South Africa launches a campaign to address sexual and gender-based violence and harassment on South Africa’s mines and in mining and labour-sending communities.
While many Minerals Council members already have policies and systems in place to address sexual harassment and violence in the workplace, this campaign is designed to complement their work and to provide new capacity and impetus throughout the industry regarding this critical issue.
Gender-based violence is a serious challenge throughout South Africa and elsewhere in the world. The Minerals Council recognises that the mining industry has a particular responsibility to address it given the predominance of men in management and the rest of the workforce, the increasing numbers of women entering the workforce, and the nature of our workplaces, particularly underground facilities.
The campaign is designed to provide a range of resources to members to enable them to give greater prominence to addressing the challenges faced by women in the industry. The campaign is being led by Minerals Council CEO, Roger Baxter, board member Deshnee Naidoo, and Occupational Health head, Dr Thuthula Balfour.
While the campaign is titled, ‘Stop abuse of women’, it is aimed at both men and women; it makes it very clear what is meant by abuse; and it spells out the potential consequences of abusive action.
Says Minerals Council CEO, Roger Baxter, “We encourage all member companies, others in the industry and residents of mining communities and labour sending areas to take action against gender-based violence and abuse in their workplaces and communities and, where they observe any such incidents, not to stand aside but rather to report those incidents and take any other appropriate action.”
The Minerals Council is investigating setting up industry-level mechanisms for the safe reporting of incidents of violence and harassment, as well as developing guidelines for management on appropriate company policies, systems and workplace infrastructure designed to ensure a safe and comfortable working environment for women.
The Minerals Council will continue to engage with all stakeholders in the industry, primarily under the auspices of the MHSC, on how we can better address this issue in our mines, and in our society.
See the fact sheet on the Minerals Council’s Stop abuse of women initiative, and elements of this campaign, which will continue to be updated and rolled out in the coming year.