Original Research

Women’s prospects for career advancement: Narratives of women in core mining positions in a South African mining organisation

Kgope P. Moalusi, Candice M. Jones
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1564 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1564 | © 2019 Kgope P. Moalusi, Candice M. Jones | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 July 2018 | Published: 15 April 2019

About the author(s)

Kgope P. Moalusi, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Candice M. Jones, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Even though there has been a phenomenal increase in the number of women employed in the mining industry, the figures hide many gender inequalities as the gendered impediments to career advancement persist despite South Africa’s remarkable equity policy regime. However, it is unclear, from the perspective of the women themselves, how their career advancement is encumbered.

Research purpose: This study reflects on the prospects for career advancement by exploring the work and organisational experiences of women in core mining positions in an open-cast mining organisation in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: To reflect on the prospects for career advancement of women in core mining positions.

Research approach, design and method: Eight professional women, selected through a purposive sampling procedure, participated in in-depth unstructured interviews. Data were analysed using Creswell’s simplified version of the Stevick–Colaizzi–Keen method, guided by the lens of gendered organisations.

Main findings: Three themes emerged: (1) male domination that has marginalised women and compelled them to emulate masculinity has legitimised existing gender barriers, (2) the long, awkward and unpredictable hours of work have deepened women’s time constraints because they have to combine the home or family caretaker role with work, and (3) the essence of being a woman in a mining organisation.

Practical/managerial implications: The study may present South African managers with a better understanding of how work and organisational features, policies, daily practices and discourses impede career advancement of women in core mining positions. Organisations should train managers to create conditions that minimise barriers and maximise performance and advancement, and align retention strategies.

Contribution/value-add: This study builds on existing knowledge about career advancement of women by providing new and valuable information specific to women in core mining positions in an open-cast mining organisation in South Africa, seen through the lens of gendered organisational theory. The findings highlight the need for organisational theory research that is responsive to the subtle issues and gendered assumptions that sustain encumbrances to women’s career trajectories.


Keywords

Career advancement; women in core mining positions; gender; male domination; working hours.

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