The film North Country, which has just been released, is based on a true story of a small group of women who became miners in Northern Minnesota. They find themselves working among men who are extremely hostile to their presence and end up going to court to protect their rights.
In South Africa, the government wants to encourage women to work in the mines and has implemented a mining charter which states that by 2007, 10% of the workforce in all mines must be female. The work is infamous for being dangerous and physically demanding but it is also one of the best paid sectors in the country.
Andrea Rose travelled to South Africa to find out what life is like in the mines for the pioneering women who are already working underground.