Women and Mining Study: First profile of women in mining

The study reveals that only 26% are in positions of leadership and 90% are projected to be working in the sector. The analysis also showed that just 3% occupy a position on the boards and that only 4% have more than two decades of experience in the field.

Vantaz, a mining specialized consultant, and Women in Mining Chile (WIM) association created the first profile of the women working in the sector aiming to know the reality they live in the industry and to boost female participation in this stratum.

“With this pioneering analysis we want to have concrete data to be able to elaborate strategies that allow opening the labor field so that more women are interested and develop their capacities in mining”, assured Juan Cariamo, partner of Vantaz. “The survey not only focused on professionals who are already in the field but also included those who are currently studying a related career, so we can incorporate their expectations and concerns”, said Claudia Monreal, president of WIM Chile.

Main results in the socioeconomic profile segment:

∙ 78% comes from the northern and central areas of the country

∙ 42% are between 35 and 44 years old

∙ 49% have university studies and 32% have a graduate degree

∙ 52% declare they are single

∙ 57% are mothers. Within this group, 81% have one or two children

∙ 64% have support from the couple in the upbringing and house chores

The report, which was based on a survey answered by WIM Chile members, revealed that 76% of women have less than 13 years of experience and only 4% have worked in the industry for more than two decades. “Almost 80% say they do not feel challenged by the industry. It is necessary that companies give us more responsibilities because that is the only way we can stay longer in the sector”, said Monreal.

Alejandra Wood, Executive Director of the Center for Copper and Mining Studies (Cesco), who has worked in different positions in the industry, considers that this point is key since it shows that not only women want to work in mining, but also develop, contribute and evolve professionally. “That is a huge capital that we are not taking advantage of as a country and we cannot keep waiting. It is necessary to take the proper measures to give women more space and tools to continue growing. They ask for it and Chile would be the main beneficiary”.

Regarding the roles they perform, the report found that only 26% are in positions of responsibility: 16% are in leadership, coordination, and supervision; 7%, in management and sub-management; and a mere 3% occupy a position in the directories. Although 30% of the respondents declare to have workers under their responsibility, the great majority (84%) is in charge of fewer than 25 people. Only 10% of them have more than 50 employees under their supervision. “There is a decrease in female participation regarding positions with a greater degree of responsibility, which shows a strong division of gender in jobs positions, evidence of a highly masculinized industry,” Cariamo said.

The study also showed that 9 out of 10 women are projected to be working in the industry. Within this group, 61% state that they are passionate about mining and this sector will allow them to grow professionally, while 22% state that this working field allows a better quality of life compared to other economic activities.

Along the same line, 57% of respondents rated the item access to goods and/or services for the family as a positive aspect. In contrast, 16% mentioned estrangement and absence in the family as a negative factor in their work.

“This last point is also tremendously beneficial for the country. That 9 out of 10 women project themselves working in this industry and 61% declare a passion for what they do, shows us that the sector has a lot to gain with the incorporation of women. Without a doubt, that projection and passion will captivate new generations of women and our mining will be nourished with the vision and contribution of a professional group increasingly heterogeneous”, emphasizes Alejandra Wood.