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Gender and diversity equality in BHP and Glencore a long way away

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2 October, 2020IndustriALL’s BHP global network and Glencore global network commit to hold both global mining companies accountable for the gaps between their gender and diversity policies and its implementation.

During workshops in August and September on gender equality, IndustriALL affiliates revealed gender-based discrimination in both BHP and Glencore. 

Both companies are public in their efforts in training and hiring more women, as well as creating more work-friendly workplaces and equipment. BHP presents itself as a champion in promoting inclusion and diversity within their workforce, with the goal of 50 per cent women in the workforce by 2025. Glencore states that diversity and inclusion are integral to their success.

Unfortunately, these statements do not reflect the reality of their workforce gender composition. Behind the two mining companies’ narratives, there are still huge gaps as to how diversity and gender equality is addressed in reality.

Unions report that women face discrimination from male managers and colleagues, preventing their careers from evolving and achieving managerial positions.

Pregnancy and maternity remain an obstacle for women. Women with the same seniority as men would be on lower salary scales because of maternity leave, and they miss opportunities like training during pregnancy or maternity leave. A Glencore employee's testimony in NY Times corroborates the trade union reports.

Women workers are still denied personal protective equipment (PPE) properly designed for women, like gloves, overalls and boots. Ill-fitting PPE restricts the ability to move easily and exposes the worker to environmental hazards associated with mining. Not only does a poor fit lower physical protection, it can also increase the risk of tripping, or create a general inability to see or grip properly.

Trade unions also reported cases of gender based violence, mentioning that where policies are in place, they are not always properly implemented.

“IndustriALL and its affiliates will expose the existing gender discrimination and inequality at Glencore and BHP, and campaign for both companies to abide by their commitments. Gender and diversity whitewashing does not cut it for our members and we need to see quantum progress, not only at the upper echelons but across the business,”

says Armelle Seby, IndustriALL gender coordinator.

Both the BHP and the Glencore global networks have resolved to take specific action to address gender based violence and harassment and campaign for the implementation of the ILO Convention 190.