An investigation of challenges faced by women in a male dominated heavy metal manufacturing industry in South Gauteng
In South Africa, women comprise more than half of the population, but only 44,3% are employed in the workforce and they mostly occupy lower-level positions. The main objective of this study was to investigate the challenges that women face in a male-dominated heavy-metal manufacturing company in the south of Gauteng. This study used a qualitative method with a phenomenological design, situated in the interpretivist paradigm in order to describe, understand and interpret multiple realities. A purposive sample of 20 women (N = 20) was selected and in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore the lived experienced of women who are supervisors and managers. The data was analysed using thematic analysis, which in turn used open coding. The results revealed that women still face a challenge with regards to tension between their work and home roles; that gender bias in the appointment of men still exists; that, while the majority of women are assigned to meaningful roles, workplace safety remains a concern for women, and that more legislation and family-friendly workplace policies are required to make the workplace a welcoming environment for women.