tommy.jensen@sbs.su.se johan.sandstrom@ltu.se

Storytellers #39-42 – a gendered division of labor (GDL)


The mining industry is one of those sectors where a gendered division of labour (GDL) is highly evident. Things are changing, however, but sloooowly. Below, we’ve gathered some of the quotes from four different storytellers at MCA, the mine in Canada we visited. We think they help illustrate that thinking about organizing rocks not only need to consider gender but also both life inside and outside the gates (on gender, see also previous posts, here, here and here):

What do people in your community do?
Majority of the guys work in the mines. A lot of guys I hang out with work in different mines around the area. The women keep busy with working back home.

man, indigenous, manager

The normal situation is that the man, father, works here and the wife would be with the children?
Yeah, there are a few women that work here that has their kids at home but that is part of their aboriginal culture that they have the family structured to look after the children, like the grandparents. […] There are very few women here that have children back home.

woman, non-indigenous, manager

People at home, they are very helpful. When you have a shift schedule like this you find a lot of people are ready to bend their backs backwards to help you while you’re gone as they know someone is needed to step up and help out, while you’re not there.
Most stories I have heard so far, the man works here and the woman stays at home.
Haha, I don’t know who you have been talking to. We have a lot of women up here. […] if I had started when I was younger I would probably only have one child. Especially if I had wanted to continue working up here. Like I told you I do understand that the wife tend to be staying home.

woman, indigenous, manager

Sometimes things are tough but I call my wife to talk with her every night so if anything happens then she will be pretty helpless when I’m up here, right. Well, especially with a young family it’s tough but when the kids get a little bit older they grow more independent and stuff, and they get used to the schedule too.  […] Everyone needs to deal with it and big credibility to my wife that needs to deal with it, she is a strong woman. A lot of other couples can’t handle it and they break up.

man, non-indigenous, worker