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Soap Box, President's Desk


Encouraging more women in quarrying

Following the success of recent IQA Women in Quarrying meetings, John Mitas urges Institute members and the broader extractive industry to review their recruitment and development program strategies for quarry women.

With the celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March this year, I took the opportunity to look at participation rates for women in the quarrying industry and within the Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA), and to review any strategies we need to put in place to increase female participation at both an industry level and in the IQA.

Australia's gender equality scorecard dated November 2015 reported 28,343 women were working in the mining sector. The number translates to 16 per cent of the total workforce in the mining sector, and is in decline due to the downturn in that sector. The report does not differentiate between mines and quarries.

Our own scorecard for the IQA indicates that we have a lot of work in front of us to develop and implement strategies to increase participation by women in our industry and the IQA. We currently have 64 female members in the IQA, with more than half located in New South Wales and Queensland. The number translates to four per cent of the IQA membership.

Organisations with women in leadership and other roles outperform their competition. Research indicates organisations with gender balance strategies are better able to attract and keep high performing employees. Recruiting and providing women with opportunities for professional development will help organisations increase performance and reduce turnover of staff and associated costs.

I congratulate Kylie Newton from NSW and Anita Waihi from Queensland for organising Women in Quarrying network lunch meetings in February this year. The meetings were well attended and provided valuable networking opportunities and some interesting stories of how and why women have chosen our industry to build a career.

Leanne Parker delivered a fantastic talk about her time in the quarrying industry. Leanne provided the audience with some very valuable take-home messages, including the importance of being confident and never saying no to opportunities.

The challenge for our industry and the IQA is to develop and implement gender balance strategies to increase the participation of women in our industry. There are a large number of women who have the education, talent and competencies to fill a variety of roles, including senior management and board positions in the quarrying industry.

I encourage our IQA branches and sub-branches to follow the leadership demonstrated by Kylie and Anita and organise women in quarrying networking meetings across Australia. We need our industry leaders to demonstrate commitment by reviewing their current strategies to ensure recruitment and development programs encourage women to join our industry.

John Mitas
Managing Director • John Mitas Consulting

John Mitas is the immediate Past President of the Institute of Quarrying Australia, and a regular contributor to Quarry. He is an inaugural member of the IQA's Quarry Manager Certification System (QMCS) board. To email John, click here.
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Friday, 20 September, 2019 6:19pm
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