Women In Mining – A Cause For Optimism

Women In Mining – A Cause For Optimism

In recent years, there has been an undeniable demand for more diversity across industries. So how has this impacted the mining industry, a field which has traditionally been very male-dominated?  

It’s not surprising, given that up until as recently as 1986, Western Australian mine owners faced hefty fines for allowing women to work underground. Absurd right? 

The good news is that Australia, along with many countries globally, has made significant progress towards gender equality in recent decades. As things stand, women remain underrepresented throughout the industry. However, there is also cause to be optimistic.  

According to the recent report from the 2021 WOMEN IN MINING SURVEY REPORT | AUSIMM, the on-site experience is improving for many women in resources, but workforce flexibility and support to manage inter-role conflict continue to be key challenges. 

The percentage of women working FIFO or DIDO positions remains relatively consistent with 2021 reporting at 19.2% (2020: 18.4%). 

The report also shows that healthcare requires further focus to improve the on-site experience for women. Equal employment and workforce flexibility continue to be strongly emphasised. 

Studies have shown that diversity drives financial gains as well as boosts innovation and productivity. On a very practical level, women can make workplaces safer and more comfortable for everyone. 

At Schlam, we gathered some of our female employees across the business to roundtable our collective thoughts about this very issue. The conversations were both insightful and inspiring from within the Schlam Group. 

Jessica, who is part of the Executive Leadership Team describes the slow shift in attitude she has witnessed. 

“The industry has evolved since the day I started in mining over 15 years ago, but the attitude hasn’t shifted much. However, those who genuinely care about women in the industry are no longer afraid to voice their opinions, which helps immensely.” She shares. 

Cynthia, who has worked in HR and is new to mining has had a different experience altogether. 

“After coming from a predominantly female-based workforce, I thought it would be daunting. However, I was pleasantly surprised as I have found it very welcoming, and I have never noticed myself being conscious of the fact that I am the only female in the room in many meetings.” Cynthia describes. 

Kirstie, who is frequently the only female in the room amongst her mostly male sales team, describes her optimism for the future of women in resources.

“I have worked in the manufacturing, construction, and mining industry, where it was not uncommon to be the only female in the team. However, not once in my career, have I ever perceived that my gender and/or ethnicity was a consideration in any opportunities I was presented with – or missed out on.” Kirstie explains.

It seems that both flexibility, equal opportunity and fairness are themes that all these women agree to be priorities when seeking out an employer.

“For me, as a mother of young children, nothing is more important than flexibility in the workplace. A company with a family-first attitude will always attract the very best talent in my opinion” Kylie from the marketing department adds.

A common tone among these women is certainly positive, noting that the industry has woken up to the fact that diversity amongst teams is not only welcomed but necessary for overall success. 

“I hope for women to have a permanent and solid place within our industry, not just about the quota but about embedding gender balance with genuine intentions and continuing to raise awareness and for women themselves to rise above the status quo.” Jessica said. 

As it turns out, the best way to have more women in the mining industry… is to indeed encourage more women to pursue a career in the mining industry.

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