10/10/2022 – Mining / Event / IMARC / Gender / Diversity / Women / Conference
IMARC 2022 to tackle mining sector’s gender divide
Closing the gender gap in mining is not only a matter of equity, it also makes business sense, according to five Australian experts who will be addressing the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Sydney in November.
As a whole, the mining industry is trying to address the under-representation of women in mining. Statistics highlighted by WIMnet (Women in Mining) NSW show that women make up less than 20 per cent of the mining workforce. Unfortunately, at an executive level it gets worse: only 6.7 per cent of mining CEOs are female, compared to the national average of 19.4 per cent.
The International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) https://imarcglobal.com/ will shine a light on the incredible contribution women bring to the mining industry, hosting a Gala Dinner with a full female panel at the three-day event that will feature 111 female speakers.
Breaking down the barriers
Reflecting on the gender transformation sweeping the industry, Chair of WIMnet NSW Lucy McClean believes opening the door to more women represents an enormous opportunity for the industry to capitalise on the proven benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce. “The statistics are very clear, and they tell us that workplace diversity creates more inclusive supporting work environments, enhances teamwork, makes us more effective in-service delivery as well as increasing productivity,” she advised.
MinterEllison Partner and Head of Perth’s Workplace Law team, Kathy Reid, stressed the need to increase the presence of women in mining, but noted that the industry is ‘facing significant challenges’ and there is ‘not one easy answer’. “Improving mining for women will require significant and consistent cultural shifts across the industry but getting there will be difficult.”
Ms. Reid referred to this as ‘the chicken and egg conundrum’. “You can't really make women feel more comfortable in the mining industry until you've got greater numbers, but you can't get greater numbers unless you make them feel more comfortable,” she opined.
METS Ignited General Manager Kylah Morrison agreed that some great strides have been made to make mining more appealing to women, highlighting the power of leveraging tech and innovation. “Equipment manufacturers are leading the way by breaking down barriers to entry, from simple things like hi-vis gear that is made for women, to major capital investments in heavy equipment,” she reported. “Rather than the traditional burly bloke on the frontline, maybe it’s a remotely managed machine, which adds even more to the potential inclusiveness of mining.
“Inclusivity is important, and that's where innovation and technology is really exciting because it does make it more of an even playing field,” Ms. Morrison added.
True diversity requires inclusivity
AusIMM Independent Consultant Giulia Savio said it was clear the mining industry recognises the need to make the workplace more inviting for women, not just by moving away from a ‘male-only’ culture, but by using innovation to create new opportunities in rewarding, highly paid and long-term careers.
However, Ms. Savio described the trend within the industry as positive, and applauded the fact that IMARC 2022 is taking a strong focus on the development of female leadership in the sector, with the leading mining sector event set to feature record numbers of female delegates, speakers, and panellists this year.
“We’re not there yet: To have true diversity and to realise the value of that diversity, you need inclusivity,” she further remarked. “In order to improve the industry, leaders need to look at making the sector more friendly and inviting for all. This might mean greater diversity in teams, equipment that can be used by someone with a disability, or more opportunities for flexibility in office based or site-based roles.”
Improving the industry for all
Agnico Eagle Vice President of Corporate Affairs in Australia, John Landmark, echoed this sentiment, outlining the need to tap into a far broader spectrum of talent to shift the idea of the industry being male-dominated to being an industry that is in touch with society’s expectations. “We’ve got to change this, and we’ve got to get this right. We must make the workplace more attractive for women and society as a whole,” he stressed.
“I am so excited that these challenges are such a major focus at IMARC, and give us an opportunity to improve the industry for everyone. The ideal workplace is where everyone can be themselves and contribute to the team environment – people of all diverse backgrounds and makeups,” he added in closing. “Frankly, if you make the industry more attractive to women, you improve the industry for all.”
IMARC is the most significant in-person gathering of Australian and international mining and resources representatives in almost three years and is a key forum to addressing the most challenging issues facing the industry. The conference will be held 2-4 November at the Sydney International Convention Centre and will feature over 450 speakers across six concurrent conferences covering the energy transition, rising costs, skills shortages, diversity within the resources sector and more.
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