Determining mutual challenges faced by opencast mines and their women employees
Throughout history various discriminatory inequalities have appeared which are based on traditional beliefs and stereotype principles. As with many other social structures, this has brought with it the challenge of overcoming these inequalities in order to empower those afflicted by unfair treatment and to eradicate both the social and economic effects it has had on society at large. Of the many different groups that have been discriminated against, often for reasons of race and belief, one of the most discriminated against is women. This is clear when one takes into account the numerous struggles over the course of time women faced for the right to take part in the very basic roles of society. The right to vote, the right to freedom of speech and even the simple freedom for women not to have their attire prescribed by what their culture deems socially acceptable. When taking this into account, it comes as no surprise that women have to overcome enormous obstacles when competing for fair employment. Even today the challenges persist in our well-developed and socially advanced labour market. The employment of women in the mining industry serves as the ideal example of current inequalities that need to be overcome if we are to reap both the social and economic rewards of the equal employment of women. The objective of this study is to identify and discuss these challenges, identify how to overcome them, the benefits of doing so and the disadvantages and repercussions of not addressing them. The findings from the empirical study, based on the sample size of 65 women currently employed in the mining sector (n=65), which have been subdivided into various categories, enabled the researcher to draw conclusions and make recommendations. The challenges that were mainly identified included health and safety, recruitment and training, retention strategy and change management. Health and safety challenges refer to women‟s perceived vulnerability in a physically demanding environment. The recruitment and training of women and the challenges that organisations face when recruiting from small skills pools require organisations to develop women‟s skills for the mutual benefit of both women and the organisation. These challenges may be proliferate due to the additional challenges that organisations face when attempting to retain the skills they have developed and the investment they have made. The resistance to change that exists within large mining organisations when women are introduced into environments previously reserved for men needs to be strategically managed. In conclusion, it was found that involving the Human Resource to implement various strategies from the recruitment of women in mining, to the development, retention and the placement of women in senior positions as well as the monitoring and constant evaluation of the progress of these strategies, the current challenges as set out above can be overcome. Furthermore, it has been concluded that it greatly depends on the top and core management of companies in the mining sector to assist in the implementation of various strategies to have these feats succeed.