India has been participating in empowering women in every sector. However, the Mining Industry is still lacking way behind. Mining as an industry has always been male-dominated in every country. In fact, up until 29th January 2019, according to the Mines Act 1952, employment of women in any part of a mine which is below-ground and on ground, except between the hours 6 a.m. and 7 p.m was prohibited. It also specifies that every women employed in a mine above ground shall be allowed break of not less than 11 hours between the end of day work and the commencement of the next day of work.
The inequality in rules made women employees not so favourable for many mining organisation. The amendment made in 2019 to the act allows equal opportunity for women to work at mines, which might help in improving the status, however, so far it has not been very promising.
Women pursuing mining were not only hounded by the legislation but also subjected to scrutiny, scepticism and stereotype. Chandrani Prasad Verma, the first female mining engineer of India has faced all of this in her career.
Roughly estimated, there would be about 120 women in India who have studied mining at diploma or B.Tech level. The number is very small considering the total women population of the country. Ms Verma now employed as a principal scientist with the Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research in Nagpur faced a lot of trouble for getting admission for a B.Tech degree in Mining after completing her Diploma. The colleges in her time had declared that the programme was not open for women. She secured her admission as a ‘special case’ after fighting for it in the court for over a year.
Less number of women in the industry have made the attitude of the industry very callous towards them. The employees do not appreciate being led by women in the industry. The work of women is often questioned for its quality if there wasn’t a male who had supervised the female. The hygiene facilities and breaks demanded by women cause their male counterparts to feel insecure about the treatment they receive at the workplace.
All these challenges contribute to lack of gender diversity in the mining sector. However, the government efforts combined with that of the private sector can bring about the change in attitude required in the industry.
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The CSR Journal Team