Maintaining competitive advantage through the strategic integration of women into Impala Platinum mining
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Women were not allowed to work underground until the ban was lifted by the Mines Health and Safety Act of 1996 (SA, 1996b). In the years that followed, the numbers of women working on the mines remained low. These low figures triggered the Government through the Department of Minerals and Energy (SA, 1996c) to introduce the Mining Charter to boost the advancement of women. This initiative was not to be without problems and business implications. The aim of this mini-dissertation was to investigate change management issues regarding the introduction of women to a somewhat gender-insensitive culture and workplace. The literature study examines the problem in general, and the empirical study was performed at Impala Platinum Holdings Limited as a case study. The empirical study was done through a questionnaire administered to respondents of the sample to ascertain the extent of the problems and an in-depth study of company statistics. The aim of studying company statistics was to ascertain whether Impala was showing any signs of losing competitiveness in terms of productivity, profit margins and safety as a result of the phasing-in of women in the Mine. The results of the empirical study enabled the researcher to introduce recommendations that could be used to avoid mistakes made during the implementation of women working in the mines.