International Women’s Rights Day 2024 – For the 4th year running, the SMSP Group and its subsidiaries are committed to the cause

8 March is a day when people come together to support women around the world. It is also an opportunity to take a close assessment of the situation of women in terms of their rights and their participation in political and economic life.

Theme for 2024

The UN (United Nations) has published the theme for 2024: “Investing in women: accelerating the pace”.  Five key areas have been identified requiring joint action to ensure that women are not left behind.

New Caledonia: alarming figures for violence against women

In New Caledonia, 76% of women who are victims of domestic violence do not lodge a complaint. “We are witnessing a steady increase in domestic violence” described the French High Commissioner, Louis LE FRANC, in his report on crime published on 6 March 2024. “It has jumped by almost 94% since 2019”. Of the 3,000 or so people who suffered domestic violence, two-thirds, or 2,197, were assaulted by their spouse in 2023.

On 27 January 2024, more than 200 people marched through Nouméa City Centre to denounce violence against women. In 2023, New Caledonia suffered three domestic murders (in Canala, Thio and Dumbéa). In two out of three cases, the victims were women.

A workshop on mechanics: to master the handling of your vehicle

To mark this day of campaign, two mechanical workshops were conducted thanks to SMSP on its premises in the Noumea City Centre.

Although women are increasingly involved in mechanical engineering, there are still issues, such as routine vehicle maintenance, that are not necessarily passed on, as naturally to women as they are to men, especially younger men.

And yet, we all know wisdom is power. And that was the aim of the workshop: to empower women with the knowledge they need to take control of their vehicles, including in the event of a breakdown, or during a discussion with a garaged dealer.

The event was open not only to SMSP Group staff but also to its subsidiaries, including Cotransmine, which took part. As with the Orange the World Campaign in 2023, the group was keen to involve its colleagues in the building, namely AGTNC (Agence pour la Gestion des Tutelles en Nouvelle-Calédonie). Each workshop was attended by 10 participants.

A practical approach in front of a vehicle

With the trainer, Pierre-Olivier CLAIRET, the participants were able to learn or confirm their ability to carry out essential vehicle maintenance:

  • Checking oil, coolant, windscreen washer and brake levels
  • Check the condition of windscreen wiper blades
  • Check tyre pressure and wear
  • Inspect warning lights to ensure they are in good condition and functional.
  • Identify the tools and steps required to change a tyre

On the basis of a handout distributed to all the participants, the trainer took the time to explain why it was important to check a level or the condition of a piece of equipment. Then, for each item, participants were invited to approach their vehicle to open the filler caps (brake fluid or windscreen washer fluid reservoirs).
It was also possible to compare the layout of certain engines, as some participants wanted to carry out the check on their own vehicles.

While some of the knowledge may seem obvious, others were instructive. For example, how to read the reference number on a tyre. It is with a certain pride that employees can now explain what each of the numbers on a tyre reference corresponds to.

In addition to the technical aspects, he has also answered many questions and dispelled a number of myths about ‘mechanics’.  For example, it is possible to use water for windscreen washer fluid (and not necessarily a product bought at a service station), but it may not wash as well. On the other hand, it is not advisable to put water in the coolant tank, as this could rust the cooling system.

Finally, the trainer answered questions relating to incidents that can occur on the road:

  • In the event of aquaplaning, the rule is not to brake
  • In the event of flooding, it is not advisable to drive through, because if the air intake is at engine level, there is a risk of sucking in water as the vehicle passes and drowning the engine (literally).
  • In the event of a punctured tyre, and if you have no choice but to “drive on the rim”, it is advisable to change the tyre even if you have the tyre “mishandled” or use a foam spray afterwards. This is because damage can occur to the inside of the tyre when you drive on the rim, and the rim can even be damaged.

All the participants said they had learned something, and as one of them said, “it’s always useful to refresh your knowledge”.

Women’s Rights Day in the subsidiaries: a shared commitment

NMC, an artistic initiative

For its part, NMC organised breakfasts for women to mark the occasion.

During these breakfasts, all female employees at the four mining sites were invited to take part in an art competition, by drawing or writing on an A0 poster that had been put up on the wall for this purpose.

Finally, all employees were invited to send a selfie with a quote of their choice representing women’s rights.

A colour code of purple, white or green was suggested to mark the day.

Cotransmine: Mechanical workshop and purple wristband

As it traditionally does every year, Cotransmine joined forces with the SMSP teams in Noumea to take part in mechanical workshops.

All employees were also invited to wear purple bracelets on their wrists to mark World Women’s Rights Day.