That's my bet anyway. After talking to my mining engineer son, the idea of joystick controls on huge machinery has another implication other than no steering wheel.
Tough as they must be to withstand those conditions, the women have a gentle touch with the giant trucks. That helps cut costs and boost output for companies such as Barrick and BHP Billiton Ltd. that mine ore in Argentina and Chile.It has been my conviction after seeing the improvements in operation as Jan became more integral to all phases, that the sooner we balance our workforce genders, the better our operations will compete. This small anecdotal information seems to suggest that's what's occurring in other profoundly macho occupations.
``Women tend to take more care of the machine and don't abuse the brakes or the engine,'' said Cristian Silva, who trains people to drive Caterpillar Inc. trucks and earth-moving equipment in Santiago for Vancouver-based Finning International Inc. ``Operating the machine better means more profits.''
Newer Caterpillar vehicles are controlled by joysticks that respond best to a woman's ``sensitive'' touch, said Daniel Sanchez, a sales manager at Finning's Argentina unit. [More]
And machinery manufacturers are hastening this trend. In other words, the intense competition for farmer jobs will experience a whole new category of aspirants.
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