More than 50 industry leaders and gender diversity champions from across Australia converged in Canberra this morning for the inaugural Women in Mining Breakfast.

The breakfast, which aimed to highlight the industry’s commitment to increasing gender diversity across its workforce, featured a keynote address by Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews.

The breakfast also saw presentation of five prestigious industry scholarships supporting women to advance their careers in the mining industry.

Minister Andrews presented Ms Alison Keogh, Ms Jo Barron-Perry, Ms Lee Brentzell and Ms Sara Prendergast with the 2017 AICD scholarships for Exceptional Women in Mining.

Now in their fifth year, the scholarships provide funding for recipients to complete the world-class Company Director’s Course at the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). 

Supported by the Minerals Council of Australia in partnership with BHP and Downer, the scholarships aim to increase female participation on minerals company boards.

The program has supported 15 women to complete the course since 2011.

Civil engineering student Ms Jelena Ceranic was awarded the 2017 Women in Engineering Scholarship. The scholarship, supported by the MCA and BHP, provides the recipient with $8,000 per annum for the final two years of undergraduate study.

Development opportunities, such as industry scholarships, as well as increasing flexibility in workplace arrangements, generous paid parental leave and targeted efforts to encourage women to consider a career in mining have helped lift female employment in the mining industry to around 13 per cent – up from just 9 per cent in 1999.

Gender diversity is one aspect of the industry’s broader commitment to workforce diversity and inclusion.  Over the past two decades, employment of Indigenous Australians in the minerals industry increased from 0.5 per cent to approximately 6 per cent – compared to an all-industry Indigenous average of approximately 1.4 per cent.

Today’s breakfast caps off two weeks of focus on diversity and inclusion in Australia’s minerals industry.  Last week, the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council hosted the 2017 Rio Tinto Women in Resources National Awards in Launceston.

The awards saw 11 women and men and two resources companies receive national recognition for their work to increase gender diversity within their own organisations and across the industry.


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