South African female miners break ground for their gender

Rustenburg (South Africa) (AFP) – Deep underground, where huge conveyer belts haul rocks to the surface, 33-year-old mother of two Bernice Motsieloa represents the quiet revolution transforming the macho culture of South African mining.

 Motsieloa is a shift supervisor at Anglo American’s Bathopele platinum mine — one of several thousand female miners employed in a difficult and often dangerous environment traditionally dominated by men.

Despite an apartheid-era ban on women working underground only being lifted in 1996, 15 percent of all employees in the mining sector are now female, exceeding the government’s own target of 10 percent.

But reports of sexual harassment are common, and some retired miners say female miners face pressure to offer sexual favours to their male colleagues.

Motsieloa said she has never suffered physical violence since first going down the pits in 2002 doing manual labour in a gold mine, though she vividly recalls the verbal abuse she endured.


More at South African female miners break ground for their gender (Yahoo News)


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