The mining industry is currently the most gender imbalanced workforce in Australia, with only 16.7 per cent of employees being female. This is the lowest number of females in any industry across Australia, with construction coming in second at 17 per cent.
Hoping to increase the number of women they employ, mining companies are inviting female high school students to spend time with mine workers on site. They hope that the first-hand experience, paired with learning what kind of jobs are available in mining, will encourage the young women to consider a career in the mines.
Joanne Tran, a 17-year-old student who paid a visit to Rix’s Creek South coal mine this week, said that her peers don’t realise how valuable mining is. “I really feel mining is quite under appreciated for people my age. They don’t understand the importance it has to Australia and the economy.”
Stephen Galilee, chief executive of the NSW Minerals Council, said there were many exciting opportunities for women in mining. “The number of women working in mining is increasing and we definitely want to see greater participation for women in the sector.”
Information from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows that in 2016 there were just 23,498 women employed in mining while there were 148,724 men. The number saw a slight increase in 2018, when 23,783 women were employed, but this occurred while the overall number of mining employees across Australia decreased.