Perceived discrimination of women in the mining sector
Mxhakaza, Juliet Noxolo
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In the South Africa mining industry women have been subjected to unfair discrimination due to their gender or sex, for thousands of years. The aim of this study is to establish if women discrimination still exists in this sector by exploring the experiences of women in this mining sector. More and more women are being employed in the mines, but it is not clear if they are subjected to discrimination or not. The research method for this study consists of a literature review and an empirical study. The aim of the literature review was to discuss the research done by others on the subject matter and their findings. Information gathered is used as a base for compiling the questionnaire which is used in the interviews that are conducted during the study. A qualitative phenomenological research method was used for the empirical study because of its effectiveness in identifying intangible factors, such as social norms, socioeconomic status, gender roles, and ethnicity, which are imperative for this study. The results of the study confirm that discrimination still exists in the mining industry. The evidence of this form of discrimination is in men's negative attitudes which are a problem that women have to deal with on daily basis. Men's negative attitudes create a hostile work environment for women that comprise of: disrespecting women, undermining of their capabilities, unequal treatment of women versus men, physically and verbally harass and I or abuse them, sex segregation and glass ceilings Few discrimination cases are reported to management because of fear of victimisation, fear of being seen as cry babies and because there is a perception that management is not supportive to women, therefore it's no use reporting a case because nothing will be done to discipline the perpetrator. The conclusion reached is that most mining organisations are faced with challenges of effectively implementing and managing change. Transformation policies are implemented but there is no internal and external (from government) monitoring, evaluation and verification systems. There is also limited buy in from people (middle and lower management) who are supposed to implement the policies. For effective transformation to happens these are the key issues that must be addressed.