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  HOME | Central America

Gender Equality Eroding Entrenched Machismo in Nicaragua Mining Sector

MANAGUA – A mining company operating in Nicaragua’s poverty-stricken northern Caribbean zone over the past eight years has hired women to fill 12 percent of its positions, all of which traditionally had been held by men.

At the end of 2017, the Labor Ministry (Mitrab) singled out gold mining firm Hemco, with operations in the town of Bonanza, for complying with equality and non-discrimination regulations in its hiring practices, thus creating new professional spaces for women in the so-called Mining Triangle.

Mitrab said that the presence of women in top jobs proves that the efforts to achieve greater gender equity in the sector go beyond mere hiring.

“In 2010, we had 30 workers in administrative posts. Today, there are 180 women in (such posts),” Dennia Bustillo, the head of human resources at the Colombian-financed Hemco, told EFE.

Women hold relevant positions in operational areas and underground mining ... We’re doing work to maintain equipment and machinery, we’re electro-mechanical technicians and we hold management posts, positions that earlier nobody dreamed could be held by a women,” said Bustillo, a Bonanza native.

According to Nicaragua’s Mining Chamber, 3 percent of the country’s GDP comes from mining, which creates some 5,000 formal jobs, the great majority of them held by men.

“We’ve broken paradigms,” Marcela, Castillo, Hemco’s vice president for business relations, told EFE after last year being named businesswoman of the year by the Cosep private business council, the main such organization in the Central American country.

Hemco’s implementation of its gender labor policy comes in response to the firm’s code of ethics, which establishes that promotion will be given to “people with abilities ... and skills regardless of sex,” she said.

“What we’re seeking is excellence and efficiency. And diversity, not only in terms of gender but also for ethnic origin, place of origin, religion,” she said.

 

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