WOMEN IN MINING: KILL THE SUPERWOMAN
Currently,gender equality is one of the most important battles in practically all social environments: work, school, education…even children‘s toys and the use of language. A much-needed demand for equal rights and treatment between women and men has reached the mining world and was the topic of the recent seminar,Women, mining and industry, held on November 7, 2018. During the seminar –organized by the Canadian Embassy in Spain and the Regional Government of Andalusia– the director of AYMA Mining, Bárbara Gómez Delgado, was an active participant, especially in the panel discussion Conciliation and its impact on promotions in mining.
The paneldiscussed topics regarding the presence of women in mining and consulting companies: the positions they hold compared to men, ways of promoting their careers, etc. The other speakers were representatives from other companies that are either operating a mine or are in the planning process: Marie-Christine Frenette, vice president of Africa – Kinross Gold Corporation, Susana Bieberach, marketing and communications manager at Geoalcali S.L, and Guadalupe Collar, director of Geology at Oro Valle. The discussion was moderated by Brita Hektoen, director of Chair on Women‘s Rights at the International Institute of San Telmo, the location of the event.
With respect to the general situation regarding managing or technical positions, Bárbara concluded that despite the fact that there has been “a positive change for women”, their presence in consulting/engineering/mining companies “is highly monitored by steering committees, unless the companies were created by women”, which are usually not more than 40 percent. According to the director of AYMA, other alternatives in hiring processes can help achieve real equal opportunities, for example, by leaving out names or any reference to the candidate’s gender in blind CVs, or by continuing of other initiatives such as “vivida” at San Telmo Institute, where women can learn from other women and see how far they can advance.
Another topic discussed was about a survey that showed a generalized opinion: the acceptance of the presence of women as a minority in these types of positions was related to a lack of ambition and number of women candidates. Bárbara Gómez Delgado sees here that there is a problem and a radical solution. The problem, the superwoman. The solution, kill the superwoman. The explanation is that we live in a society that educates us to relegate women to household activities. The idea is the following: you can do anything you want and in addition, run a household. The superwoman.
For Bárbara it is crucial to end this idea that women can do it all. They should be able to opt for only one goal if they want. Without having to divide their efforts. To be able to choose. Kill the superwoman.
In an intervention in the previous panel discussion, Marta Pérez Dorao, president of the Inspiring Girls Foundation, made an interesting reflection about guilt, something that Bárbara had previously mentioned. The affirmation we must kill the superwoman means understanding that we should not have to feel guilty.
Although in general the consideration of women in the world of mining engineering has improved, it is necessary to continue fighting to continue in this direction. “The sad thing is that women are still having to give explanations”, says Bárbara, “for achieving goals that men are assumed to achieve.”