Soledad Bauer, our Organizational Development and Sustainability Manager, appeared on “Diálogos Red Activa” to address the issue of women’s leadership in the business world.
Soledad, could you tell us what Enaex’s path has been to create space for women in leadership roles?
There’s no doubt that the mining industry is a historically masculine one. Historically, women entering a mine was considered “bad luck,” and the ban was so widespread that it was written in the Chilean Labor Code. The code was changed in 1979, and women were finally allowed to enter a mine.
We began to incorporate women much later than other industries, but today we are making an enormous effort to land leadership positions for women.
How has this road been?
In terms of Support, it hasn’t been too difficult. It’s far more complicated in Operations positions.
Globally, women only hold 17% of Operations positions.
To increase this 17%, we must:
• Set clear goals in all business units.
• Change mindsets so that women believe they can reach higher positions.
• Make parents aware of the importance of parental co-responsibility so that women can continue their professional development after having children.
• Improve infrastructure so women can go to a mine and have their accommodation, with bathrooms and changing facilities adapted for them.
How do you reach these goals?
The first task was to sensitize the board of Directors. Our president, Juan Eduardo Errázuriz, was set on bringing women into the boardroom. Today we have two women on the board, which is a massive victory for us.
Our first impact is through the recruitment departments to eliminate these unconscious barriers.
We all have a notion of what leadership is. Today the vast majority of people in leadership positions are men. So, leadership traits tend to be much more masculine.
We are creating spaces to help women develop through mentoring or training programs such as ‘500 Women in Mining’.
What are the benefits of having women in positions of leadership?
When everyone is the same, the results will likely be the same. Your results will be different when you bring in different people, women, and people from other groups. You’ll increase creativity and innovation.
With diversity comes new things.
I notice a better climate in teams with female leaders than in others. A woman’s empathy can bring to a team creates safe environments to propose new ideas without the fear of ridicule. In these teams, the innovation potential is far higher.
Empathy and collaboration are inherent in women, given their traditional motherly role.
If men were to share parenting roles more, they too could develop these skills.