More women needed in top mining jobs
Johannesburg - More women are needed in top positions in the mining industry, Minerals Minister Susan Shabangu said on Saturday.
"Women's place is and should not be in the kitchen, that is, [the] soft jobs of these mining companies," she said in a speech prepared for delivery.
"We wish to see women occupying meaningful and even strategic jobs in the mining industry, including those at board level."
Shabangu was speaking at the annual Women in Mining conference at the University of the Witwaterand in Johannesburg.
She said she was pleased with the marginal improvement in the position of women since the introduction of the Mining Charter in 2002.
The charter required mining companies to ensure that 10% of their total workforce needed to be women by 2009.
"Even though mining companies have just fallen short of the 10% target... I am still very concerned.
"The mining industry by its very nature and for historical reasons still reflects an ethos that is a reflection of the male dominance of this sector," Shabangu said.
"The role and place of women in mining is not a mere luxury, or irrelevancy....It is something that must happen, and be made to happen, without delay. It is part of righting the wrongs of history."
She said the government was committed to the advancement of black and gender empowerment as well the reversal of oppression and exploitation in the mining sector.
"The Freedom Charter made bold the statement that strategic areas such as the banks and the minerals beneath our soil should belong to the people as a whole.
"It is up to us, today, to decide the means to achieve this," Shabangu said.