When women unite, standing together and supporting each other, they can achieve anything. This is according to Charlotte Moloi, a mine manager of one of the biggest mining companies in South Africa.
August marks Women’s Month in South Africa, and Moloi said the month reminded her that women are resilient.
“Women should support each other, listening to each other and being patient with each other. That is how women will progress,” Moloi said.
The mine manager, who has been in the mining industry for about 17 years, said it was a difficult sector that in South Africa was still male-dominated.
“When I started, the industry had its ups and downs. After I finished my undergraduate diploma, I had to apply for internships. I had to wait a year for the company that accepted me, as they didn’t have change house facilities where women could change to their underground clothes,“ Moloi said.
She said the experience was frustrating, and that was when she realised her journey in the mining industry would not be easy.
When she finally started working, she realised the sector was results-driven and challenging.
“I didn’t get the support that I thought I would get from senior management. In mining, there are certain jobs you cannot do without a government certificate. You need those certificates to hold certain positions. When I wanted to complete those certificates, they didn’t allow me (to do so) because they said I was still young, and that was one of the biggest challenges I encountered,” she said.
“You need to tell yourself that you will overcome the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. If you are determined, anything is possible.“
She said the advice she had for women who wanted to pursue careers in the mining industry was that, while there would be challenges, they needed to persevere.
“Even though they will encounter challenges, they must never give up. Challenges will always be there. They need to understand that there are still stereotypes in certain positions. They must always know that what a man can do a woman can also do. Women are more than capable.“
She said one of the positive aspects of working in the mining industry was that there were people in senior positions willing to lend a helping hand.
“You cannot know everything – you will have to ask if you are not sure. Utilise the people who are experienced in the field. Don’t do things on your own. Always seek that support structure. Make sure that you use that opportunity.“
She pointed out that support, including mentoring programmes, was there.
“There are always people who are willing to assist,” she said.
image:Charlotte Moloi, a mine manager at one of the biggest mining companies in South Africa, says women need to stand together if they want to scale the heights of success. Picture: Supplied.