Weir Minerals’ signature partnership with AusIMM’s fifth International Women’s Day event series highlights the company’s commitment to workplace gender equality.
It would surprise few to learn the Australian mining industry is a largely male-led one. The extent of that situation, however, might itself be something of a surprise.
The mining sector is the most disproportionately male industry in the country, toting a ratio of 80 per cent men to 20 per cent women, according to Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).
This is exactly why industry leaders have clearly defined and accountable goals relating to workplace inclusion, diversity and gender equality.
Broadly speaking, the aim of workplace gender equality is to achieve equal opportunities and outcomes for men and women. A strong stance on diversity and gender equality is all the more important in traditionally male-led industries such as mining.
There’s clearly more work to be done, and that’s why companies such as Weir Minerals are on the frontlines of gender equality issues in the resources sector, using proactive strategies to create a more diverse, equitable industry.
One such strategy is Weir’s ‘affinity groups’ like the Global Weir Woman’s Network and Weir Pride Alliance.
On one hand, these company-organised bodies allow members to share experiences in a safe space, leading to a healthier and safer working environment.
And on the other hand, the affinity groups are intended to attract, retain and develop Weir talent around the world through events and networking.
In other words, the initiative allows the company’s traditionally under-represented groups to connect with each other and grow professionally.
Weir Minerals also boasts a thorough talent-management initiative, providing employees with a broad range of eLearning courses and career management opportunities. This equal access to coaching and training helps to eliminate those arbitrary barriers.
Considering its work in the industry, it is no surprise that Weir was recently a signature partner of the 2023 International Women’s Day event series. AusIMM’s fifth annual International Women’s Day event series is a celebration of women in mining. For Weir, it’s an opportunity to support the change it wants to see.
AusIMM sat down with three women from Weir Minerals ahead of the International Women’s Day event series to discuss the importance of female representation.
For Brooke Williams, a Weir Minerals quality technician, one of the main highlights from working at the company is the people.
“The support I have received has allowed me to push myself outside of my comfort zone, learn about what I can achieve in my career, be recognised for my potential and be rewarded with great opportunities,” Williams told AusIMM.
Williams said that placing more women in manufacturing roles would bring a different perspective to the job – something echoed by Weir Women’s Network chair Julie Truss.
Truss pioneered the Weir Women’s Network chapter in Australia, an initiative that started at a grassroots level at Weir ESCO in the US and has since expanded to global locations.
“I decided I needed to reach out to women from as many Weir locations across the country as possible and in differing roles to ensure a diverse representation,” Truss told AusIMM.
“We learnt from this that just inviting people was not enough, additional encouragement was required. The amazing women on the committee made sure to talk about the event to their colleagues at every opportunity – in meetings, one-on-ones, in lunchrooms, on Teams calls.
“Having representation from our committee at most locations and in different parts of the business meant that our reach was broad and the impact significant.”
Truss works closely with Weir regional managing director Kristen Walsh. Walsh was the encouraging voice behind the Weir Woman’s Network Australian chapter and encouraged Truss to champion the initiative and get it up and running in Australia.
“I play a part in influencing change by consistently communicating our vision to create a workplace environment where everyone feels they belong and everyone feels safe at work,” Walsh told AusIMM.
“This is done by setting aggressive targets and goals that call for the increase of female representation in our workplace.”
Williams, Truss and Walsh join the collective of employees at Weir Minerals who are driving for real change in the industry.