Mining for Change
Mining may run in the family of University College student Tania Galarce, but to become a mining engineer is a rare occurrence for women in Chile. Mining in Andean countries has been slow to incorporate more women into the field, with less than 15% of women workers in that sector, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. In Chile, that percentage is even smaller, with women accounting for around 7.5% of the mining labor force.
But that didn’t stop Tania, who comes from a long line of miners, including her great-grandfather who died in the “Smoke Tragedy,” where more than 350 miners lost their lives in 1945 because of a fire inside the El Teniente mine in Chile.
“Gender equity is a recurrent aspect, but it was far from discouraging and instead was an incentive to be part of the new generation of women in mining,” she said. “I chose to be a miner because I enjoy the possibility of having access to broad knowledge.”
In Chile, Tania worked as a project engineer at Mineria y Medio Ambiente, an engineering consultancy office focused on environmental permits for mine projects. Today, Tania looks at the environmental angle of mining while pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Management.
“Integrating my engineering background with this environmental management program will help me make this industry a sustainable and responsible activity which can co-exist with the environment and communities.”
The graduate program offered through University College helps students navigate the complex relationships between the environment, management, and policy. Graduates are prepared to solve the many environmental challenges in our local and global communities, and we can expect Tania to do just that.