The Ladies Club of Golden Star Resources (GSR) Limited, in partnership with International Women in Mining (IWiM), as part of efforts geared toward commemorating International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 has held a seminar on work-based diversity and inclusivity.
Hosted bilingually in English and Twi, the seminar centered on the theme for IWD 2021 – #ChooseToChallenge – as insights, experiences and solutions we shared on how to tackle gender-based inequality in a sector that is male-dominated.
In her opening remarks, Executive Vice President-Head of People at GSR, Nathalie Lion Haddad, stated that the essence of this year’s theme will not serve merely as a theme for just one day, as it encompasses core values which GSR is committed to – particularly the creation of conditions aimed at providing safe, inclusive and rewarding working environments for all employees to thrive.
“Our commitment to this has seen us continue to attract and retain more women, as well as encourage younger women to consider careers in the mining industry,” she said.
She added that evidence of GSR’s focus can be seen in its long-standing partnerships with like-minded institutions such as the IWiM and their chapters in countries where GSR operates.
On her part, founding member and current Director at International Women IWiM, Barbara Dischinger, said despite progress being witnessed, it is important that the voices of women be heard individually and collectively to improve diversity, governance and sustainability in the mining industry, and to allow women be agents of change.
She bemoaned the lack of data in tackling gender-based inequality – arguing that while companies are beginning to look into metrics, there exists barely any baseline data at national and global levels, especially on women working in large-scale mining.
“Inasmuch as there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of inequality, there is very little hard data; and if inequality is not being measured, how well can we verify it or measure its impact?” she quizzed.
Charging heads of institutions, she said: “You are all responsible for role-modelling the company’s values. Institutional and corporate change starts when leaders take responsibly over their own actions and attitudes.
“It is not enough to divert responsibility for inclusion onto others and be satisfied that the work is done; it is up to everyone, but especially leaders.”
According to the General Secretary at Women in Mining-Ghana, Rosemary Oppong Kwasie, gender-based inequality and biases run deep in the mining industry; and while there has been considerable effort to throw light on it, there is still a long way to go.
She tasked co-workers, especially men, to be introspective and willing to learn; adding that some remarks said lightheartedly could betray deep-seated misconceptions and biases against working women.
She added that while there is a conscious effort to change the narrative, propelled largely by evidence-based research that has shown more-diverse teams are more productive, reforms should run across the entire value-chain.
Other panellists at the seminar included the CEO of GSR, Andrew Wray; Manager responsible for Corporate Affairs at GSR, Gerard Boakye; and Manager-Metallurgy, Kwabena Owsu Akyaw, who all shared thoughts and experiences on the subject matter.