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Mining and Gender Equity

By Eurídice González - Mujeres WIM de Mexico


By Eurídice Salomé González | Founder - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 15:00

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In the globalized world we live in, it is increasingly necessary to open our personal vision and be willing to collaborate with our environment with the participation and flexibility that current times require. Twenty years after my start in mining, some progress has been seen in the participation of women in the sector; however, we still find a great lag in the position of women in the industry, which, although we can say that it has improved, we can also say that it has not been to a great extent.

According to Camimex, in its 2021 Sustainability report based on information from the Mexican Social Security Institute, around 368,000 people are registered as working directly in a mining company, of which almost 58,000 women are officially registered working in Mexico.

Mining is an excellent option for bolstering the participation of women in the economic sector. The virtuous circle of people benefiting from mining is not limited to the participation of men, since various elements, skills and professions are required to develop mining. This is where the opportunity lies for women in this industry. However, we know that the participation of women working directly is very low despite being one of the best paid activities in Mexico, with a 36 percent higher wage than the national average.

According to the 2021 statistics compiled by Camimex, approximately 16 percent of mining jobs are held by women, the majority are operational positions, and a little less than 3 percent of women hold or have held executive and managerial and decision-making positions.

The foregoing tells us that, as a society and government, we still have a lot to do to promote greater opportunities for women and make them a key element in the value chain that is born with mining.

The firm McKinsey & Co. has executed great research on gender equity for approximately 15 years in several countries. It started in 2007 with a study called “One same aspiration, two realities,” notably highlighting the great gender gap professionally speaking. This survey culminated in the Women Matter report. The landmark report from the McKinsey Global Institute in 2015 found that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 if the gender gap is narrowed. In Mexico, it launched its first report in 2018. Its second report was issued in 2022, based on the responses of 35 percent of the people who generate Mexico’s GDP. It showed that, although some changes have been achieved, there is still much to be done.

Let's dive in: In organizations in general, of the talent entry base, 40 percent are women, of which only 1 in 10 achieve CEO positions. Men earn seven times more than women at the entry level and 17 percent more in executive positions. The coronavirus pandemic was harder on women than on men. During “home office,” women more than men feel that they must always be connected, leading to constant excess stress and chronic exhaustion. As a result, more women considered stopping working, either permanently or temporarily. They also led the transition from one job to another by four times more than men, impacting their emotional and economic stability. It took men six months to reach pre-pandemic levels of employability, while this rate was only recently achieved by women. At this rate, parity would be achieved in 100 years.

Some positive balances from recent years at the organizational level show that 50 percent of companies consider diversity in the Top 10 of their strategic agenda, since it has been found that this increases their profitability and by 25 percent. The 2022 survey shows that a quarter of Mexicans think that when there are fewer jobs, men have a greater right to have them. More than half of Mexicans consider that if a woman works, children suffer at home, and that if she earns more money than her husband, there will surely be problems.

To accelerate change, in Mexico it is imperative that the practices of companies having best equity practices be replicated and that internal policies be generated that involve organizational leaders in generating mechanisms like mentoring, internal initiative committees and continuous monitoring. But also, it is of great importance that actions be carried out that recognize and give visibility to the capacity of our Mexican women and to generate these opportunity niches for women. 

As part of this effort, the Mujeres WIM de México organization was founded in the mining industry in 2016 as a subsidiary of the Women in Mining International organization based in England and with a presence in more than 50 countries. The corporate purpose is to promote gender equity in the mining sector and sustainable mining. Mujeres WIM de Mexico, is present in 11 districts: Chihuahua, Mexico City, Coahuila, Durango, State of Mexico, Guanajuato, Guerrero, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora and Zacatecas. These districts function as a platform to promote initiatives to increase the participation of women in our Mexican mining industry.

It is hopeful to see that progress has been made in increasing the participation of women in mining but it is also important to recognize that much remains to be done to achieve equity and a more even playing field with initiatives and practices that bridge the gap. The right to aspire to a better quality of life is a human right for all and we trust that this commits us all to actively participate and achieve a forceful change. In doing so, our children will not have to wait 100 years to achieve the parity that our world deserves.

Photo by:   Eurídice González

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