Still not enough women in mining: report

Women are underrepresented in the high paying construction and mining industries and increasing their involvement is still a big challenge, according to a Government report.

The Women in NSW 2012 report has found that while gender and wage gaps have narrowed, in male-dominated sectors like mining the change has been marginal.

In 1996-97 around six per cent of NSW women were employed in the mining industry, and in 2011-12 the number has risen to 11 per cent.

Out of a total workforce of around 47,000 people, women make up only one per cent of construction and mining labourers.

"Little has changed in terms of representation of women in male-dominated industries over the past 17 years," the report said.

Marking engineering and earth sciences as the highest paying graduate jobs in 2011, the report said women were also underrepresented in some fields of tertiary study.

"Women are under-represented in some hazardous industries with high injury and disease rates, such as mining and construction, but over-represented in industries such as health and education with high interpersonal demands," it said.

"Women hold ten percent of jobs in the construction industry and 11 percent of jobs in the mining sector in NSW, as opposed to 78 percent of jobs in health care and social assistance and 68 percent in education and training."

After the study's release NSW Minister for Women Pru Goward said part of the solution to bridging the pay divide between male and female workers was to encourage women to take up work in the mining industry.

Analysts and the wider mining industry have long identified increasing the participation of women as a key way to find new workers.

But a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers claimed mining still "lags other industries in employing skilled women".

"Entrenched and outmoded attitudes towards women's roles and career prospects remain," it said.

"Many of the companies we spoke to were aware of the need to redress the gender balance and are taking steps to do so."

Earlier this year Australian Mining wrote a feature on Ashlee Thompson, a 19-year-old underground offsider who thinks more women should get into mining.

Image: GRC Developments

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