Women in Mining: Overcoming Challenges and Forging a Path to Success
Introduction to Gender Diversity in Mining
The mining industry is undergoing a notable transformation as it embraces increased gender
diversity and inclusivity. In regions like South and South-Central Africa, where mining is a crucial
economic driver, women’s representation within the sector is on the rise. Despite the unique
challenges presented by the historically male-dominated environment, women are demonstrating
resilience and determination in pursuit of success
Empowerment Through Resilience: Stories of Women at Unitrans
Through hard work and perseverance, they have earned acceptance and respect for their
contributions and abilities. Nontuthuko Dlamini, a dedicated shift supervisor at Unitrans, proudly
declared, “I wanted to do something different and show other women out there that we can excel in
any kind of job.” She emphasised the importance of hard work and perseverance, stating, “I always
work diligently, sometimes even forgetting that I’m a woman. It has been instrumental in my career
growth within this environment.”
Cultural Shifts and New Opportunities
Cultural dynamics are playing a pivotal role in enabling women to take on positions of influence.
While broader societal challenges persist, specific mining environments are increasingly
acknowledging and appreciating women’s capabilities. Geraldine Samson, Head of Human Capital
at Unitrans, reflected on her journey and stressed the importance of effective communication and
relationship-building across all levels to overcome barriers. She stated, “driving equality and raising
awareness through programs and initiatives are crucial steps toward creating a supportive and
inclusive environment for women in mining.”
Initiatives promoting gender equality and empowering women are making a significant impact in
creating a more inclusive industry. Lilley Moodley, an Administrator, finds the mining sector
intriguing and full of opportunities. She explained, “The complexity and intensity of it allow me to
push myself beyond the boundaries I have ever thought I would.” Lilley emphasized the importance
of providing women with opportunities to acquire skills for traditionally male-dominated jobs,
stating, “With more emphasis on inclusivity and equal opportunities, women in mining will
continue to thrive and break stereotypes.”
Unitrans' Commitment to Gender Equality in Mining
Unitrans, a logistics services provider in the Mining Services Sector, recognizes the importance of
promoting gender equality and empowering women. The company cultivates a diverse and
inclusive organizational culture while supporting women’s advancement. Mpume Dlamini, an
admin officer, highlighted the challenges faced by women, including gender inequality and
resistance to female authority. Dlamini stressed the need for respect, understanding, and support
from male colleagues to promote gender diversity and inclusion.
Government Initiatives and Private Sector Collaboration
The South African government is also actively working to empower women in the mining sector.
Initiatives like the Women in Mining Forum address gender inequality and ensure women have
equal opportunities. Policies have been implemented to provide adequate facilities for women and
address the specific needs of pregnant women working in mines.
The collaboration between private sector companies like Unitrans and government initiatives is
crucial for driving meaningful change. By aligning their efforts, they can create an environment that
encourages women’s participation, ensures their safety and well-being, and provides equal
opportunities for career advancement.
The Future of Women in Mining
The trajectory for women in mining in South and South-Central Africa appears promising. Mining
companies are proactively working to increase women’s representation in their workforce,
challenging stereotypes and benefiting from a diversified talent pool. As remote work options
expand, the industry can harness the advantages of an interconnected world.
Celebrating Women's Contributions in Mining
The stories of women in the mining industry reflect the determination and unwavering spirit of
countless women who are breaking barriers and paving the way for a more inclusive industry.
Nontuthuko, Geraldine, Lilley, and Mpume are just a few examples of remarkable women growing
their skills and knowledge and making their mark in the mining sector. By championing gender
diversity and empowering women, the mining industry will flourish with its invaluable
contributions, propelling it towards a brighter and more equitable future.