Gender diversity in the mining workplace blog article cover showing a woman in a hard hat

Gender diversity in the mining workplace through communication campaigns

(This original publication was a title article in African Mining Publication)

Gender diversity in mining is a hot topic. It is a serious consideration in industry sectors the world over. This article, written for African Mining Publication, explores gender diversity in the mining workplace. It has an emphasis on the African mining industry, however, it’s applicable to the entire minerals and resources sector globally.

The mining industry continues to provide countries with a steady flow of foreign exchange and is a dominant contributor to the African economy. With this being such an instrumental industry in Africa, implementing gender diversity in the sector isn’t just an option, it’s essential.

Let’s explore the ways in which gender diversity in mining can become a higher priority and more diverse and inclusive.

Gender diversity in mining workplaces through industry visibility

Young girls need to know more about the mining industry, not just that it exists, but also the opportunities available to them. Companies in this sector are made up of many moving parts that are invisible to people outside the space.

How can girls strive to become a part of an industry they know nothing about?

More mining companies need to send representatives to schools to educate girls on the opportunities that exist and the different career paths available. Mines and companies in the sector need to be showcased at career expos and conferences. The agenda must therefore encourage young girls to take more STEM subjects and get qualifications that are in demand in the industry.

Take action: Make gender diversity in mining a priority and take your mining brand to school and graduate roadshows to inspire young women to become part of the industry.

Gender diversity in mining through ambassadorship by women in mining

Representation matters. When you see someone who looks like you thrive in a space, you become intrigued by that space. Mining is known for being a male-dominated sector, which is intimidating. Women bringing about innovation, making an impact and taking up space in the industry need to share their stories.

Social media is a great tool to make this happen. Gender diversity in mining can become more of a priority with through visibility. If we encourage diversity on platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram and ask team members not only network with each other, but also to educate and inspire, it will create awareness. That ‘insignificant’ post on your feed might inspire the woman who’ll invent a system that’ll change the industry as we know it to apply for a job in mining. We all hold influence, no matter how small. And through storytelling, and being ambassadors of this sector, we can bring more women in.

Take action: Encourage your team to be active on social media and to show their voices and opinions. Inspire from the inside out.

Prioritising female employee retention

Gender diversity in mining, or any workplace, can’t be discussed without addressing the other elephant in the room, female employee retention and making mining companies more female-friendly. It’s not enough to feel seen and celebrated – the support, safety, career growth and well-being of women in mining need to be prioritised.

Female employee retention through childcare facilities, maternity coverage and flexible working.

Childcare facilities, maternity coverage, flexible working opportunities and mentorship are just a few examples of the many ways companies in mining can support and retain their female employees. Sexual harassment and gender discrimination are also still ongoing issues in mining, which need to be addressed with a sense of urgency and zero tolerance.

Women in leadership positions need support. The ‘old-boys-club’ attitude male leaders sometimes have, not only prevents women from contributing meaningfully to leadership boards, but also stifles the progression of the industry.

Take action: Speak to your HR and senior leadership team to embrace gender-inclusive workplace strategies. Consider an employee survey and then implement that feedback into your strategy.

Pro-diversity recruitment process

Because the public perceives mining as a man’s industry, it’s crucial for the recruitment process to be tailored to attract a more diverse pool of applicants. Every detail, from the job titles to the job descriptions, needs to be inclusive to not discourage women from applying.

Having a larger shortlist is necessary to increase the chances of a woman being hired. Mining companies need to highlight the benefits of working for them in job adverts, so more applicants are motivated to apply. The interview process needs to be fair, and it’s best for the interviewing panel to also be diverse. These steps are necessary for all levels but critical for leadership roles.

Take action: Make sure your shortlist has a wide range of demographics, ethnicity, genders, and socio-economic backgrounds so that you can increase the chances of a more diverse workplace.

Communicating gender diversity in the workplace

Change starts from the top. CEOs and leaders, you need to communicate gender diversity and inclusivity more intentionally.

So how do we achieve better gender diversity in mining workforces?

Through mindful and educational communication with your employees. A socially conscious workforce is achievable in mining, but only if company leaders make it a priority. We need to continually challenge gender stereotypes and gender diversity needs to be promoted. Integrated internal communication campaigns for awareness allow employers to reinforce important messaging to employees through their preferred channels – both traditional and digital.

We encourage HR managers and leaders in the industry to drive transformation in your companies through awareness campaigns. As specialists in mining brand and communication design, we’ve created a solution to help mining companies through integrated campaigns.

These campaigns differ from when people usually just by a workplace safety poster or get a leaflet designed. We’ve set up Workforce Campaigns – a platform for communication campaigns. It has a variety of culture, health, HR, and safety campaigns that can be displayed on noticeboards, WhatsApp, digital screens and more.

The Gender and Diversity Campaign will help educate your staff on gender diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. As our contribution to encouraging companies in their diversity journey, we’re giving away a Gender and Diversity campaign for free. All you have to do is email our team and reference this article, and we’ll send you the free download link!

Much still needs to be done for the mining space to evolve and transform. Mining industry leaders and company owners need to be intentional about enforcing and implementing this transformation.

Gender diversity is a competitive advantage, and as gender discrimination and stereotypes in the workforce are challenged in practical ways, the potential for the mining sector to thrive is endless.

Do you need help with internal communications at your mine? We’d love to work with you to achieve your goals. Reach out to our team today.


Sources:

  1. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/gender-equality-in-the-workplace-ways-to-improve/
  2. https://awimaafrica.org/about/
  3. https://www.zawya.com/en/economy/global/african-mining-sector-set-for-strong-growth-in-2022-if3njtxb
  4. https://mg.co.za/special-reports/2020-11-06-putting-gendile:///C:/Users/halom/Downloads/minerals-council-white-paper-on-women-in-mining-2022.pdfer-firmly-on-the-agenda-the-importance-of-diversity-in-mining/
  5. f
  6. https://www.miningsafety.co.za/are-we-doing-enough-for-the-safety-of-female-miners/
  7. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4178-gender-gap-workplace.html