The Stone sector represents a worldwide increasing market. Within the European Union around 60,000 small and medium sized businesses work with ornamental stone in all aspects. This comprises a work force of more than 500,000 people engaged in and around ornamental stone industry with strong economic and social impacts at regional levels. This sector represents a worldwide highly increasing market where European production reaches approximately 35% with a total turnover of about 24 billion €. Nevertheless, know how is exported not only in the stone quarry business, including the closely associated high tech machinery where Europe has a leading position in the world market, but as well as all forms of modern applications of stone.
However, the female workers are in a minority in the whole value chain of this industry due to lack of a gender integration, where the rate of feminization is only 7.25% at European level (source: Cluster Piedra):
- Barriers among colleagues: In a mainly male sector, it is not well seen by traditional society.
- Intrinsic barriers: It is thought that jobs in stone sector require brute strength and it cannot be carried out by women, but it is incorrect, because, currently, it is a sector that highly uses machinery.
- Labour market barriers: Women think they do not have any possibility to work in this sector, because they do not have a positive mentality about their abilities to carry out the tasks of this sector or because they think that they do not have equal opportunities. But this mindset has to change.
The main objectives of the WinSTONE project are:
- Expand on existing educational offerings.
- Increase peer-networking opportunities by coordinating venues to connect and learn.
- Develop a system of support and mentorship with other women in the industry.
- Create opportunities for women to serve on key industry jobs.
- Recognize emerging & experienced women who excel in the industry.
- Create awareness of opportunities and career paths available to women considering careers in the stone industry.
- Work with the WinSTONE Board of Directors and other committees and associations to achieve these goals.