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Learn about the experience of the first woman with reduced mobility to work in a mining company's operations area

The "Women's Participation in the Mining Industry" workshop was held during the first week of June. This initiative brought APEC Chile 2019 to the north of Chile thanks to work on the Women, SMEs and Inclusive Growth priority.

The objective of the activity was to identify and analyze the challenges facing women in the mining sector. It featured the participation of professionals from this field, including Carolina García, Training Specialist at BHP Minerals Americas, the first woman with reduced mobility to work in the mining company’s operations area.

She told us about her experience and how progress can be made with regard to inclusion within the industry.

How were your first days at work?

When I was hired, they asked me what they could do to make me more comfortable. I told them that I hadn't really thought about it, since I'm used to constantly having to adapt to my surroundings. They were surprised that I hadn't brought a set of requests in with me.

As the first woman with reduced mobility to enter the operations area in a mining company, how would you describe your experience?

It has been better than I could have ever imagined. It has been a real treat for me to be able to join this company because they have a very developed culture of diversity and inclusion. They take steps to accommodate diversity in terms of culture, nationality, gender and sexual orientation. Now they are also working on diversity as its relates to disability issues.

Tell us about some of the tools that new technologies have provided the mining sector.

As in several other industries, virtual communication has gained a lot of traction. We are now able to talk with employees in different parts of the world and stay connected remotely, especially with the on-site operations area. A world of opportunities has opened up for everyone, especially for people with disabilities.”

Do you think promoting inclusion in the mining sector is important? Why?

The inclusion of people with disabilities is an issue that is here to stay. All industries must comply with Law 21.015, which encourages the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce. So, this needs to be promoted in the mining sector, an industry that has historically faced greater challenges in terms of accessibility. Finally, diversity creates value by generating a more creative and innovative culture that can provide better solutions. The mining industry is lagging behind in this respect.

What do you consider to be the next big step in terms of inclusion in the mining industry?

Accessibility. As I was saying, this issue has always been quite complicated in this industry. It isn't easy to enter a mining site in a wheelchair. They are very determined to make changes, and these small accessibility improvements can lead to many opportunities.