Women Labor in Mining: Inequities, Achievements and Challenges

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 2:15 PM-3:45 PM
TW1.2.04 (Tower One)
Francisco Javier Velazquez-Sagahon, University of Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico
Laura Elena Zarate-Negrete, Universidad de Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico
Women labor in mining: Inequities, Achievements and Challenges

Dr. Francisco Javier Velázquez Sagahón.

Dra. Laura Elena Zárate Negrete.

Universidad de Guanajuato, México.

Key words: Women, Mining, Labor.


This article presents the results of research work which main objective is to elucidate on the motives, achievements, obstacles and challenges on the labor process of women in mining, the aim is to generate knowledge in order to design some actions allowing humanitarian development on people and get economic strength for companies advocated to mining on Guanajuato municipality, in México.

Mining activities in Guanajuato city go as far as the year of 1548, this industry had being tightly related to the economic growth of the region ever since. Today, the mining sector of the city reaches the seventh national position of gold and eight place on silver; producing 678 kg of gold, and 55,377 kg of silver. We are talking about a population of  3,800 people of which 11% are women, and it has been clear that that percentage is going to increase.

We consider that labor conditions are tough enough and for women even more, the lack of equipment, services, and proper machinery for women make a real inequity situation, although the payment is good enough to attract women to this sector their labor conditions are worst to those of men. Women used to work on administrative side of the sector, but during 1990’s they became a working force in the field.

Our references: Theory of the New Economic Institutionalism (Powell y Di Maggio, 1991) and the Feminist Sociology of Knowledge (Smith Dorothy, 1990). We applied mid structure interviews to female workers on 3 levels: executive, technicians and operative females. We consider 3 of the main mining companies: Endeavour Silver Corp., Great Panther Silver LTD y Gammon Gold Inc.

Analysis and interpretation of data are done considering Beuchot (2007) Analogic Hermeneutics.

Main results allow us to understand the incoming process of female labor in mining; we note some inequities but also some achievements are clarified for female mining workers and we argue the big challenges they face up, and the need of accurate management policy for the human capital of these companies.