Women are beginning to make their mark on the very male dominated field of Mining. Women are taking on production roles throughout mining companies like BHP Billiton. The $1.1 trillion mining industry is the most male dominated industry in Australia with 90 percent of the workforce being male.
Many companies are trying to change these statistics. Canada’s Goldcorp are offering female-only leadership training, South Africa’s platinum producer Lonmin are offering female scholarships and Rio Tinto are setting goals to have 20 percent female managers by 2015.
Women like Gina Rineheart, Asia’s wealthiest woman, are encouraging young girls to consider a career in mining due to the money. Currently, male workers earn 18.2 percent more than women across all industries.
The Prospect Awards 2014 will be celebrating Mining’s Woman of the Year. The four finalists are Natasha Cann, Jo Corliss, Cassandra White and Kym Clark. These women have all contributed to mining in several different ways.
Natasha Cann is the owner of Mining Mentors and Mining Mums, both confidential, free mentoring services to help women advance their careers. Natasha is a fourth generation fly in fly out miner who knows what issues affect women. She encourages women to discuss their success and failures to help and encourage other women.
Joanne Corliss works for Rio Tinto’s Bengalla Mine and has been nominated for her move from a cleanskin operator to supervisor in less than eight years. Although Jo enjoyed operating the heavy machinery she enjoys being a leader more. Since her promotion she has improved the C Crew equipment utilisation by 10 percent.
Cassandra White has been nominated for her work helping to build support organisations for miners and their families through not-for-profit Miners Promise. Cassandra joined Miners Promise in 2011 and has worked to keep the company running through financial trouble. Since she joined the organisation, the membership has risen to over 1200 people.
Kym Clarke is an ex-coalmine accountant who created the clothing line 'She’s Empowered.' She’s Empowered creates hi-vis everyday safety work wear and maternity uniforms for female miners. She believes women need to be provided for and comfortable while working at the mines. Many mining companies support her line including BHP Billiton, Glencore, Anglo American and One Steel.