Interview from the June 2020 issue of Panorama Minero
A talk with Gladys Smith, Head of Latin America for International Women in Mining (IWiM), on the global vision of the organisation, what is next for the mining industry, and the consequential impact on equity and gender issues.
We face a very unusual reality at this moment, and all women in the mining industry will have to contribute towards moving forward into more comprehensive and inclusive scenario. At International Women in Mining, we will do our best to make the mining sector a better place through the promotion of diversity gender equality and inclusion policies. Fortifying, connecting, and coordinating WIM organisations worldwide as part of an associates network will be our main objective in the future.
Women will face many challenges in the coming months, especially as a result of changes that will come with the coronavirus pandemic. Without a doubt, we will have to adapt to new tax regulations and protocols imposed by the companies. Therefore, we are talking about a new space for women to succeed in, one in which we will have to work together for the common goal to have more women working in the sector. It is an excellent opportunity to think about how we mine. And to reflect on how to increase the female contribution in an industry of this magnitude.
From the beginning, it has been very positive and consistent. WIM organisations leaders we liaise with are very much looking forward to work towards a united movement, and we have had good coordination so far. The drive that each organisation has is motivating. And I know that projects are going to be realised, which is an encouragement for WIM organisations in each country. Enthusiasm is contagious, and the camaraderie between organisations goes beyond the imaginable.
Mining is changing a lot worldwide, both strategically as well as operationally. The industry has had to realise that it has to adapt to changes in the world, especially in fields related to environment and technology. In addition, the coronavirus situation, because unexpected, hit all mining companies who are having to face an extraordinary situation. Nevertheless, we see that they are making the necessary changes, and that’s very beneficial for the future. I notice a quick reaction from the industry, and I think that in the future, we should focus more on decreasing carbon emissions and encourage “green” investments. I also see an improvement in terms of diversity: I am already noting a larger number of women that strengthen participation figures in this sector.
The path is already paved thanks to the great work done by women and for women. From now on, we must keep going and remember that there is still a lot to do to achieve gender equality in the industry. We must put the past behind and start laying the foundations for a more diverse future.