Today marks International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world. But it’s also a day to reflect on the fact that we are far from achieving gender equality. The roots of International Women’s Day reach back more than a century when a ‘special Women’s Day’ to be organised annually was proposed at the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference. And whilst a lot has been improved and achieved over the last century there is much more to be done and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the issues around gender inequality even more to forefront.
According to McKinsey, women are more vulnerable to COVID-19 related economic effects because of existing gender inequalities, with women’s jobs 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than men’s jobs. Women make up 39 percent of global employment but account for 54 percent of overall job losses as of May 2020.1
In addition, last year, the UK collected the most comprehensive data in any country in regards to gender pay gap which revealed that in the UK almost 90 percent of women still work for companies that pay them less than their male colleagues.2
When I encounter stats like these I always wonder if the next generation of women entering the workforce will still have to fight this battle. But I am encouraged that whilst much more needs to be done there is increasing acknowledgement that change is necessary and real efforts are needed to achieve this change.
So, what is the gold mining sector doing?
For much of its long history, mining has been considered ‘man’s work’ by cultures all over the world. The under-representation of women in gold mining from the ore face to the boardroom has been identified as a major issue.
As such, when the Board of the WGC, the CEOs of the world’s leading gold mining companies, came together to create the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs), they acknowledged that more had to be done on gender equality and the role of women in mining.