The second day of the Goldfields Mining Exhibition continued today with the Women in Mining Panel Discussion a highlight for visitors.
Chaired by Lanie Anderson, a director of Mining Family Matters, the panel included Julie Shuttleworth, general manager, of Barrick’s Granny Smith Mine, Elizabeth Jones, underground manager, Homestead Norton Gold Fields Limited – Paddington Operations and Sandra Joubert, senior metallurgist, Sunrise Dam Gold Mine – AngloGold Ashanti Homestead
The women spoke about their varied experience in the mining industry, what inspires them and their hope that more women would see the industry for the opportunities it could offer.
Shuttleworth highlighted that great rosters, work life balance and opportunities to travel were just some of the reasons she loved working in the mining industry.
“We’ve got to get out there more and educate younger kids, men and women, girls and boys, about the great careers in the industry,” she said.
Shuttleworth pointed to the different roles available in the industry and said the variety meant anyone could have a great career with the right skills and attitude.
“Mining isn’t all about being a mining engineer, a metallurgist or a geologist, the nurses have got great careers in mining, safety and environmental professionals, equipment operators to electricians, there’s so many fabulous careers in mining and everyone can have a fabulous time in mining.”
“You do need the skills, you need some experience and you need a really great positive attitude,” she added.
While women are still under represented in the mining industry, making up only 22 per cent of the workforce in WA, the panellists were adamant that being a woman in the male-dominated field was not an issue and that there was no difference on the job between genders.
“I’ve never found my gender to be a challenge in mining and I’ve never sat around and thought that being a woman in mining should be any different,” Shuttleworth said.
Elizabeth agreed, saying that being a woman in the industry was a lot different now than when she started working in 1995 and it was the people who couldn’t adapt to women working in the field that were pushed out.
“The industry has changed so much. The overt sexism that there used to be is just gone and the people who couldn’t adjust their behaviour on those sort of things, couldn’t adjust to new safety regulations, couldn’t adjust to HR policies and if you have that mindset companies aren’t going to leave you in charge of million dollar assets,” she told Australian Mining.
“I’m hanging for the day that women in mining is no special subject whatsoever and there’s 50 per cent men and 50 per cent women in the mining industry and it’s no big deal to be a woman in mining at all,” Shuttleworth added.
The woman all agreed that initiatives like mentoring for women, family friendly rosters and affordable childcare were all ways the industry was trying to encourage more women to strike up a career in the sector.