February 5 of 2020

Performance is not a question of gender

The impossible is possible. It would have been very difficult thirty years ago to imagine a woman like Camila Prada, a mining engineer and specialist in environmental management, working in the coal mining sector and enriching it with her knowledge and contributions in the field. However, such is the reality today for this Guajiran woman, together with more than 1,000 other women in Cerrejón’s workforce.

“At first, I thought my male co-workers might ask themselves why they were being led by a woman. That’s why we often don’t even apply to certain positions, because we mistakenly believe they are exclusively male. But we ourselves are stripping away those gender labels and demonstrating that performance is a question of skills and discipline, regardless of whether you’re a woman or a man,” assures Camila.

Historically, this sector has been a male’s industry. Not just in Colombia, but in all the countries with a history of mining. That is why promoting the role of women and of indigenous communities more and more has become one of Cerrejón’s main challenges. The goal is to seek a fairer, more diverse, and more inclusive social transformation in which everyone can contribute.

“We continue to strengthen our policies in fairness and equality, adapting our working conditions and fostering a safe environment for our identity. We have invested our efforts and resources in promoting the comprehensive development of our co-workers, achieving a working environment based on fair treatment and respect,” comments Juanita Bejarano, vice president of Human Resources and Services.

At Cerrejón, men and women from different company areas form an Equity Committee that promotes various initiatives. Actions incorporated in 2019 include three rooms for nursing mothers in Bogotá and the Mine, one of them in an operational area. In these rooms, nursing mothers can safely extract and preserve their milk to take it home.

Another initiative at Cerrejón is an agreement of intent to implement a Gender Equality Management System – Sello Equipares, signed with the Ministry of Labour and the support of the Presidential Council for Women’s Equality and the United Nations Development Programme.

The Sello Equipares is a certification program aimed at recognizing companies and organizations that effectively implement fair practices in the workplace, seeking to reduce more and more labour gaps and any form of violence or discrimination, in addition to contributing to business competitiveness and productivity. At Cerrejón, we will continue working to contribute to transforming society to promote fairness, thus recognizing the contributions of each of the men and women who, like Camila, mine to generate value for La Guajira and the rest of the country.