International Women’s Day 2022 was celebrated on Tuesday 8 March 2022, and the local mining industry raised awareness of gender bias and the industry’s actions to address inequality.
To mark International Women’s Day 2022, the Minerals Council, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, organised labour, the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Mining Education Trust Fund celebrated ten Women In Mining Modernisation Heroes who were selected out of more than 180 women nominated by the Minerals Council’s 79 member companies and associations.
The work of women in mining and their role in the adoption and implementation of modernised approaches, research and systems implementation is often unrecognised. Therefore, the objective of the Women In Mining Modernisation Heroes campaign is to honour and celebrate these unsung heroes in the industry who work tirelessly to create an environment in which more women can participate and realise their full potential.
“At the Minerals Council, one of the seven Foundational Principles of creating a thriving women in mining culture is to increase training on unconscious bias. We are monitoring and urging our member organisations to run these programmes within their workplaces as well as beyond the mine gates,” says Nolitha Fakude, the first woman president of the Minerals Council in its 132-year history.
“Company leadership is critical to change corporate culture to address breaking the bias and stereotypes by creating a psychologically safe space for diversity to flourish,” she says.
“As we seek to break the bias for everyone, regardless of gender stereotypes, these women truly are heroes, making a marked contribution to their company’s modernisation strategies and rollout. They give us all something to aspire to and to make a difference in our own ways,” says Fakude.
Since 1996 when women were first legally allowed to work underground in mining operations, the industry now employs 64,500 women out of a total workforce of 455,200. The Minerals Council and its members have set stretch targets to at least double the percentage of women in mining by 2025 and ultimately work towards 30% to 40% women representation across the industry and 50% in management over the next decade.
Modernisation of mining is a critical factor in making this a physically safe, attractive career for women, driving transformation, growth and sustainability of the sector.