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africa|design|health|mining|resources|safety|operations

Women in Mining South Africa Launches Bold Initiative Addressing Gender-Based Violence

23rd November 2023

     

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This article has been supplied as a media statement and is not written by Creamer Media. It may be available only for a limited time on this website.

Gender-based violence (GBV) takes centre stage in the agenda of Women in Mining South Africa (WIMSA). In a sector where various initiatives are underway, GBV remains a critical concern for the mining industry. The Mineral Council Call to Action reveals that South Africa has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence and harassment globally, with one woman murdered every three hours and an average of 85 rape cases daily.

WiMSA's Chairperson, Raksha Naidoo, also the CEO of The Particle Group, and WiMSA Membership Lead and Sustainability Professional at Implats, Murendeni Makhado, have set the ambitious goal of bringing this challenging issue into the spotlight within the mining community stating “we must take a stance against GBV.”

“Sexual harassment and sexual violence are unfortunately pervasive in the mining industry. The mining operations are usually in remote and isolated locations which makes women more vulnerable to violence. In addition to these women and men work and live in the same communities, making it harder to make complaints against a colleague or a supervisor” shares Makhado.

Naidoo emphasizes, "GBV is a significant safety concern for all of us. Many have either been victims of GBV, fear it, or have daughters and children whom we want to protect. The time to say no is now." WiMSA has partnered with Amber, The Health and Safety Communication Platform, to design an interactive campaign aimed at initiating this critical conversation.

Lindy Scott, CEO, and Creative Director of Amber, states, "As a creative team focused on health and safety communication, we are proud to collaborate with WiMSA on this vital topic. At Amber, we leverage our creative communication skills to save lives. Designing a campaign for GBV is emotionally challenging, given the heartbreaking statistics and visual imagery. Our mission is to use creativity to save lives, and if this partnership can help even one person, we will be proud."

The campaign will launch during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, utilizing social media as its platform. The mining community, health and safety practitioners, and the public are invited to co-create visual posters, available on

www.ambersafety.info. The minimalist design features a single teardrop, symbolizing various aspects of GBV-related emotions such as fear, trauma, sadness, or anger, inviting viewers to reflect and contribute to the poster's completion.

"Women’s low representation in mining jobs makes them particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and sexual assault. Further, a lack of policies to address gender inequalities - or failure to implement them - sustains the masculinized culture of the workplace” adds Makhado.

WiMSA and Amber's collaboration aims to use visual imagery to spark conversations that raise awareness among both men and women, inspire support-seeking behaviour in women, and prompt reflection on views regarding gender-based violence. "This is the beginning of an ongoing conversation," says Naidoo.

Maria Combrink, Deputy Chairperson of D, E & I of WiMSA and Principal Consultant at ERM, stresses the importance of companies using all the resources to communicate what GBV is and how to report incidents within their workplace or community, involving everyone and encouraging people to speak up.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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