Canada’s mining industry has long been a male-dominated sector, but strides forward are being made to promote greater inclusion of women, according to the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC’s) latest newsletter.
Mining companies across the country are increasingly seeing women in senior leadership roles and working at the site level, but there is still work to be done to ensure that their meaningful participation in the sector is prioritized, MAC noted.
Citing a study by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), the association indicated that women have always had low representation in industries such as construction, manufacturing, and mining and quarrying. Women currently represent 48pc of Canada’s labor force, while their representation in the mining industry remains much lower, at 15pc in mining and quarrying. More women in mining can increase the industry’s access to Canada’s available talent.
MAC observed that while it is clear there is progress to be made in attracting and retaining female workers, long-term trends show improvements are taking place. For example, the share of women in mining and quarrying was 6pc in 1987. At 15pc in 2018, this is a significant improvement and an encouraging sign for the industry at large.
For trades and production occupations, women’s representation has increased across all industries in recent years, from 27pc in 2011 to 31pc in 2016. However, the mining industry has yet to realize these gains since the share in these occupations has remained constant, at 12pc in both 2011 and 2016. This trend points to potential opportunities for the mining industry to increase its representation among the selected occupations. Overall, the most significant finding from MiHR’s research remains consistent — the industry continues to struggle with the underrepresentation of women and this must change.
Recognizing this fact, concerted efforts by both industry and government are underway to attract and retain women in the mining industry.
Developed on the foundation of a previous research initiative, MiHR’s Gender Equity in Mining Works (GEM Works) program offers comprehensive training to help establish Gender Champions and Change Agents within an organization and ultimately eliminate unintentional barriers to gender inclusion found in dated policies, procedures, and practices.
GEM Works is the only program that provides mining organizations with proven, industry-developed tools to help eliminate systemic barriers to gender inclusion in the workplace. Validated through industry-leading labor market research and funded through Employment and Social Development Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program and Women and Gender Equality Canada, the driving intent of GEM Works is to provide mining companies with tangible tools, training, and collaboration to increase the participation of women in the sector.
Click here to learn more about the MiHR project and the steps being taken by mining companies to promote gender equality.