“Having an engineering degree doesn’t mean that you are not going to crawl and get dirty.” Thulisile Gama

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Thulisile Gama is a Metallurgical Engineer who, by just being that, has shattered a glass ceiling as not many women are in that profession. Thulisile remembers the day she had to give an operational instruction to one of the teams. A man from the team told her that he will not take an instruction from a woman.

Years later, she has served as Chairperson of Tronox Women’s Network, a global network aimed at supporting the professional development of women in engineering. She is a mentor to young girls, particularly those from the rural areas, despite the opposition. 

This is her advice to young women interested in the mining industry;

Go for it. It is a challenging environment but with lots of opportunities.

When I started work, I didn’t want to acknowledge the gender barrier but I have come to see my gender as a strength and I now focus on leveraging it. Invest time in researching about this field. Enter this industry because of passion, not money, and find yourself a mentor or role model.

Having an engineering degree doesn’t mean that you are not going to crawl and get dirty. You need to work your way up the ranks, starting at the bottom. It’s also important to be teachable. Be keen to learn and take the initiative to do so. Focus on building strong fundamentals when you start as a junior, you’ll need those as you progress in your career.

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