Gender disparity and women participation in development has become a matter of global attention. Women's participation is perceived to play a critical role in efforts for poverty alleviation. In 2016, the Gender Development Index in Indonesia (GDI) was at 92.6, compared to the global average at 94.11. Gender Empowerment Index (GEI) increases every year, but the gap between men and women in Indonesia remains. Moreover, due to the persistent social and gender inequalities in access to income distribution, natural resources, health and education opportunities, women and girls are more likely to remain in poverty. In Indonesia, women's participation in the labour market is only 51.3 per cent, compared to 84.4 of men's (UNDP, HDR Report 2014). 


Equal participation of both women and men is crucial to driving economic growth to its full potential, due to women having an equal role in it. One of the biggest challenges that we are currently dealing with is to close the gender equality gap, especially in the mining and energy industries. In 2016, there were only 6.7% of female employees working in the mining sector, while males were accounted for 93.7% (BPS Data, 2016).


Various contributing factors that are associated with the problem are the minimum policies that attract more women to participate in the industry, limited resources in the market that match with company requirements as well as minimum awareness of the importance of gender equality to be adopted at the corporate & senior management level. Multiple reasons had led to those factors, and they could be linked to social norms, differences in education levels, lack of access to general services, as well as cultural factors. It is believed that education plays an important role in strengthening the importance of gender equality in the mining & energy sector. This covers business leadership, management and recruitment processes and retention strategy.

Business Leadership & Management

The business case is clear; gender diversity in business leadership can have a significant impact on corporate culture and performance. It is now increasingly acknowledged that advancing women in leadership is the right thing to do and it makes sense from the business perspective. According to the BPS data in 2016, the percentage of women holding the managerial level positions was accounted for 24.17%, while that of men's was more than tripled. (BPS, 2016). Another piece of data also revealed that in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries where women were CEO's accounted for less than 5%, within the publicly listed companies (She Works Report, 2015).   


The three most significant barriers to women in leadership that were highlighted in the report are: lack of the adequate role models, sociocultural barriers, including gender stereotypes, and the socio-reproductive roles that women are assigned to from an early age. (She Works Report, 2015). Mentoring-ship, coaching and training programs are considered to be the best approaches to deal with those issues. Promoting female role models in the workplace is a good starting point to improve leadership skills amongst female employees.

Recruitment & Retention of Female in the Workforce

The gender stereotype in the community when it comes to education is that women should not take STEM subjects; this might in turn lead to a limited number of female graduates who are interested in starting their career in the mining and energy sectors. The perception that women should do the office work, whereas men should do the field work continues to be popular amongst the society members. They tend to lead the opinion that those roles are divided based on gender characteristics, which limits the opportunity for women to get the adequate education skills at the same time.


Gender equity is not only a women’s issue and is fundamentally an economic issue, therefore men should be involved in it not only because they hold an important role in the company structure, but also because they can contribute to a more successful implementation of gender equality values. There are several aspects that might be posing as challenges for retaining women within an organization, and these include recruitment policies and the employee benefits companies offer, such as providing parenting programs, day child care or allowing their employees to take time off to care for elderly parents.


In an effort to narrow the gap between the above mentioned issues, WiME (Women in Mining and Energy) aims to initiate a partnership with companies, the government and other relevant stakeholders through education and knowledge management to benefit advocacy efforts to do with gender in mining and energy sectors. In short, WIME strategy is to act as an activator and catalyst, piggybacking the existing network.


This year, WiME proudly supports Coaltrans Asia as the prestigious coal mining exhibition in Indonesia, which will be held in Bali between 23-25 June 2019. Women in Coal Breakfast is one of the new topics on the agenda in 2019, and it is strongly believed that it will be a good place to start the discussions about how we can all contribute to achieving gender equality in the sector, as well as how our network can be increased so that we can collaborate more effectively in the near future. It is expected that a lot of delegates from all over the world will come and join the event. We would like to encourage the top women in the coal industry as well as women that are new to coal to join and give their support and inspire others. As the Executive Director of WiME, I am pleased to meet you there and share our thoughts.