Jorge Bande displays his vision on women and mining at the ICARE forum

Cesco’s boardmember referred to the advances of the industry in the inclusion of female labor force, the need to incorporate women in managerial roles and the cultural barriers facing the country to achieve real diversity in companies.

An interesting discussion on the barriers women workers face to grow in companies and the changes that are required to increase the percentage of women in various labor fields were the topics discussed on Thursday, May 9th during the ICARE forum named “Diversity: Myths and Ghosts”.

Issues such as wage gaps, lack of women in leadership positions, difficulty in reaching promotions within the company and the shortage of female professionals in the “hard sciences” were some of the points addressed by various speakers.

Jorge Bande, one of Cesco boardmembers, referred to the situation of women in the mining sector during the panel “Diversity in the goal box”, where he shared the stage with Patricia Palacios, General Manager of Innergy Holdings and President of IRADE; Nicholas Schmidt, Consultant at Spencer Stuart and Francisco Murillo, CEO of SURA Asset Management Chile.

He reflected on the still minority but growing feminine force in this industry, where currently it adds about 8% on average and up to 10% in large companies. “In mining, we started from a very precarious reality; let’s not forget that twenty years ago women could not enter the mining sites because it was supposed to be bad luck. The jump mining has had is huge”, he said.

Additionally, he noted that despite the prejudice that women would not be as interested in performing in this sector due to extreme geographical conditions or shift systems, experience indicates that many female workers are comfortable with this work regime. Furthermore, the growing automation and digitalization of mining is an opportunity for women to integrate into the sector without the need to live or work in mine sites.

When asked about the necessary cultural changes for women labor force advancement, Cesco’s director assured that a change of paradigm respect to the domestic responsibilities and the upbringing of children is crucial.

“For me, the most important thing is the attitude of men. Sometimes we do not realize that this is an absolutely essential step in the development of humanity, not only of the company. We must understand the issue of co-responsibility, a man has to be aware that both of them work, he cannot expect his wife to do everything in the house on her own. Or the fact that when there is a possibility of promotion, the boss sees as a barrier the greater workload only if the worker is a woman … that has to be changed”, he said.