Mackay-based association Resources Industry Network (RIN) is calling for the local business community to participate in a gender diversity research project.
During Queensland Women’s Week celebrations (March 6-12), RIN is hoping to raise awareness of its new equation for equity project (E4E), which will identify the barriers preventing women from holding leadership roles in the Mackay region’s engineering and heavy industrial sector.
RIN manager Adrienne Rourke said the key to increasing the number of women across the resources and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries was having a collaborative regional approach.
“With funding from the Australian Government’s department of industry, innovation and science, we will be working with industry and community leaders to identify opportunities to embrace a more diverse workforce through the E4E project,” Rourke said.
“The project will run over the next 18 months, and is aimed at identifying the challenges and opportunities to attracting greater gender diversity in careers and leadership within the resource sector.
“In the Mackay region, only 11.9 per cent of the mining industry workforce is female, despite the exciting career and leadership opportunities. And even fewer women are entering apprenticeship and VET placements in these areas.”
She said a key focus of the project would be on implementing strategies that would lead to the long-term retention of women within the resources and STEM careers, as well as supporting them to move into leadership and mentoring roles.
“It’s really about being able to tackle core issues at the local level and help make long-lasting change,” Rourke said.
The first step of the project will be conducting research to identify the challenges specific to the region of retaining women in STEM and leadership careers, and to establish a baseline from which to grow.
RIN will soon be calling for local business owners and women engaged in the mining and STEM areas to nominate to be interviewed as part of the research project.
The research gathered will support local companies and workplaces by developing a toolkit to assist them to understand the opportunities and identify what may be required to attract a more diverse workforce.
Anyone wanting further information about the E4E project, or to register to be involved in the research study, should visit the Women in STEM section on the Resource Industry Network website, under Initiatives, and join the mailing list.