Gold miner Gold Fields has acknowledged the lack of female representation in the workplace, citing it as “a global business issue” across industries and geographies.
Women in the South African mining industry alone face a range of challenges, which often prevent them from either choosing a career in mining or remaining in mining roles.
To put it in perspective, in South Africa, women make up only 12% of the mining industry, compared with 17% in Australia and 16% in Canada.
However, female employees account for 23% of all employees at Gold Fields’ South Deep mine, indicating the progress the mine has made, but also the work that remains to be done, the miner says, adding that it “has a key focus on removing barriers that have traditionally made mining less appealing to women”.
The mine aims to advance a diverse workforce by ensuring that all members of the leadership team are committed to an inclusive and diverse workplace, while also setting very clear targets to increase the level of female representation at all levels of leadership.
Additionally, the mine is aiming to ensure that talent and performance management programmes promote the identification of high-potential women and offer them appropriate development opportunities, while simultaneously addressing systemic and cultural barriers that may impede gender equality throughout the business.
The South Deep mine also fosters a safe space to report and address all forms of harassment, while engaging and collaborating with all stakeholders to promote and support impactful gender equality initiatives, the miner says.
Gold Fields executive VP Martin Preece notes that “women play many critical roles in our lives, our society and in our work environments. This is also true at South Deep, where many women are ambassadors and role models to our people and in particular to other women who want to follow careers in mining”.
He adds that the miner believes that gender equality is key to a fair and trusting work environment that will strengthen organisational culture and ultimately improve business performance.
“As men, we have a very important role to play in ensuring that all workplaces are equitable environments free of any form of discrimination and harassment, where people of all genders can flourish and reach their full potential. By learning and understanding the issues surrounding gender equality, men can make a difference and support women.”