Gender: Lowest Social Priority for Mining Companies
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Gender: Lowest Social Priority for Mining Companies

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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 12/22/2022 - 12:08

Although the mining industry has made significant strides in ESG issues, gender and diversity issues continue to lag the furthest behind environmental and energy concerns, according to a report by Stratum International and Digbee. Experts warned that the sector's behavior and lack of concrete actions are concerning and continue to reinforce stereotypes that paint the industry as only suited for men.

ESG issues have become a top concern for mining companies in recent years, according to a study by Stratum International and Digbee that surveyed leading mining executives from 29 countries. According to the study, the three most important social challenges for mining companies are waste management, air and water pollution and energy efficiency. Meanwhile, diversity and gender have dropped to the bottom of the list.

In addition, the study indicated that 26 percent of the pressure on ESG performance comes from stakeholders, investors, NGOs and industry expectations. Twenty-eight percent is derived from industry expectations, whereas 19 percent comes from international standards. Finally, 13 percent stems from regulatory requirements.

“There is huge pressure from industry, investors and other stakeholders for mining firms to be more transparent and report their ESG strategies. It is not enough to just set and communicate sustainable targets. It is also key to show how mining companies are progressing and achieving those goals. Failure to do so will negatively impact future investment opportunities. That is why the winners will be the ones who swiftly address potential risks and quickly seize the opportunities for ESG innovation,” said Jamie Strauss, CEO, Digbee.

In Mexico, the mining sector employs over 57,826 women, representing 15 percent of the total workforce, according to the Mexican Mining Chamber’s (CAMIMEX) 2021 Sustainability Report. Experts say that the participation of women in the mining sector has been increasing slowly but steadily.

According to the report, the majority of mining jobs held by women are operational positions, and less than 3 percent of women hold executive and management positions. Euridice González, Founder, WIM Mexico, stressed that this shows that the industry and the government still have room to improve regarding the inclusion of women and make them a key element of the value chain.

González stressed that to accelerate inclusion, best equity practices must be replicated within mining players. In addition, companies and the government must generate mechanisms such as mentoring, internal initiative committees and continuous monitoring to ensure greater inclusion. Most importantly, the operational ability of women in mining must be recognized and made more visible to attract more women.

“The highly masculinized mining sector has a huge area of opportunity to unlearn harmful behavior and become re-educated on gender issues. We need to keep the dialogue alive, visualize what we go through, train ourselves and keep highlighting the societal problems we aim to fix,” Fernanda Romero, Sonora District President, WIM, told MBN.

Photo by:   Bruna Fiscuk

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