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South Africa’s Mining Sector Pioneers in Empowering Women, Tackles GBV

Investment in Women’s Progress Key to Transforming Mining Industry

by Adenike Adeodun

On the eve of International Women’s Day, the mining industry in South Africa took center stage in the global dialogue on gender equality and empowerment, demonstrating its pivotal role in combating gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF). Nolitha Fakude, President of the Minerals Council South Africa and chair of the Women in Mining leadership forum, emphasized the industry’s commitment to supporting GBV survivors through financial contributions to the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Thuthuzela Care Centres, in partnership with the GBVF Response Fund.

This year’s theme, “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,” resonates deeply within the mining sector, urging a holistic approach that transcends organizational boundaries to address societal ills like GBV. South Africa’s alarming GBV rates necessitate a concerted effort from all societal sectors to foster a conducive environment for women’s advancement. Dr. Futhi Mtoba, co-chair of the Women’s Economic Assembly (Wecona), advocates for gender-responsive policies, financial and technical support, and the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The Minerals Council has taken significant steps toward inclusivity and diversity, redefining metrics for its gender diversity and inclusion dashboards and launching a procurement project to support women-owned businesses. This initiative has seen a notable increase in procurement spend on women-owned businesses, reflecting the council’s dedication to fostering an inclusive environment.

Despite these advancements, challenges persist. Women in South Africa’s labor market remain underutilized, with a substantial portion economically inactive. Women entrepreneurs face hurdles like accessing capital, gender-based discrimination, and a digital divide. To combat these issues, Wecona has developed a gender participation framework, emphasizing ownership, employment, pay parity, and representation at executive and board levels.

In the mining sector, companies like Impala Platinum (Implats) are leading by example, with Chief Technical Officer Mark Munroe highlighting the importance of creating opportunities for young women. Implats’ commitment to gender diversity is evident in its community programs, bursaries, and internships, all aimed at empowering women within the organization and the broader community.

The mining industry’s efforts to champion gender diversity and empowerment are multifaceted, involving community engagement, workplace policies, and support for women-owned businesses. This comprehensive approach is essential for breaking down barriers and ensuring that women have a platform for their voices and talents.

However, the journey toward gender equality in the mining industry and beyond is ongoing. It requires continuous effort, innovation, and collaboration. By addressing the unique challenges faced by women, allocating resources for research and development, and promoting procurement practices that support women-owned businesses, the mining industry can contribute significantly to economic empowerment and diversity.

As South Africa and the world celebrate International Women’s Day, the mining industry’s actions serve as a powerful reminder of the critical role it plays in advancing gender equality. Through investment in women and a commitment to accelerating progress, the sector can lead by example, creating a more equitable and inclusive future for all.


Source: Mining Weekly

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