Event takes look at steps to gender equality
Gender quotas, the gender wage gap and the gains a company can secure from having a truly diverse workplace were hot on the agenda at an International Women’s Day event last month.
Men and women from around the South West gathered at Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre for the Chamber of Minerals and Energy and Albemarle’s Women in Resources Lunch on March 26.
The event was part of the month-long celebrations for International Women’s Day within Albemarle’s global network.
Four panellists from the industry discussed the challenges faced by women in the resources sector and the ways the roles of women in the mining and resources sector had changed over 30 years.
In what has previously been a male-dominated industry there is now about 50 per cent representation of women in Australia’s top-performing resource companies, compared with just 20 per cent across the rest of the mining and resources companies.
Sharlie Morrison from Woodside spoke about the intentional shift towards gender equality and how setting targets and “normalising 50:50” had led to having “more women in the room”.
She said a major hurdle was finding ways for people to balance primary-carer roles with career progression.
“There is still more work to be done and a bit more creativity is needed here,” she said.
“In so many cases, women step out of the workforce right when their career is about to step up.”
Fellow panellist Megan McCracken said a solution could lie in job redesign.
“The basic structures of how people work now were set up in the first industrial revolution, more than 120 years ago,” she said.
“How much else in the world has changed since then? Job redesign is the secret here.”
An Albemarle spokeswoman said the Kemerton site had presented a unique opportunity for the company to create a diverse workforce from scratch as it built its operations over the past four years.
“We developed the Albemarle Kemerton Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to guide us in cultivating a workplace where employees feel safe, supported and empowered to do their best work,” she said. “Through an intentional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, we envision a workforce where every employee has an equal opportunity to be successful.”
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