Mining is one of the rare global enterprises that is generally perceived as a ‘masculine’ industry—a dirty, risky job in which women seem to play an insignificant role. This general view misleads the fact that women actually are and have been played a very important part of the mining industry. Women have worked as miners for a very long period of time before the mining business is seen as one of the masculine jobs in current world. Yet, women are concentrated in low paid, unsafe and risky mining jobs that use low or no technology as they take up jobs that the male workers refuse to do or simply dirty jobs are the only available ones the women are given to. Besides getting the rough jobs at the minefield, women are constantly being harassed on regular basis, from being told upon sexual jokes, gender comments, harassment to sexual assault, given the general view of women aren’t supposed to work in the minefields if they are not tough enough. I was interested in the particular topic after watching an American movie called “North Country”, a movie based on the first sexual harassment case in American history about a female coal miner filed a class action status against her employer , Eveleth Mines, in the 1980’s and thought this particular movie would be a good topic for my paper. It had everything I was interested to explore—gender discrimination and tough female characters. The movie wasn’t as good as expected but it got me interested in the area of women working in mining industry. It is simply because I couldn’t imagine the kind of sexual harassment being projected in the movie could actually happen in the real mining industry, so I looked it up on the internet and see if the gender discrimination in the working environment of mining industry is as serious as it seems to be. In this paper, I will provide a brief background story of women being in the mining industry, an industry emphasizing masculinity along with the case study of Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co., the first class act sexual harassment case reported in the American history, with a discussion on the issue of women seen as subordinate group under the field of gender equality.
MIGNON, Miao Siu Mei (2013). Women and mining : an analysis on women in subordinate position. Cultural Studies@Lingnan, 34. Retrieved from http://commons.ln.edu.hk/mcsln/vol34/iss1/4/