Elspeth Jeffery AWRA Program Manager

When the Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA) commenced in 2011 the concept of gender diversity was a relatively new one for the resources and energy industry.

Having always been a male-dominated industry the business case for increasing women’s participation was not clear or recognised.

However, the push by initiatives such as AWRA and others has seen a huge change in the workplaces in the resources and energy industry. Particularly when compared to other industries that do not have industry wide gender diversity initiatives focused on organisational change like AWRA does.

The data produced from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency is one example of this. This data is collected from workplaces of over 100 employees, and organisations have been required to report in the current way since 2014.

While the percentage of women in the industry has not increased substantially, it is currently 16.4 per cent, the organisational initiatives and focus on this area have. For example, in 2014, 53.1 per cent of mining industry organisation had an overall gender equality policy compared to 53.6 per cent across all industries. However, in 2017 63.0 per cent of mining industry organisations have an overall gender equality policy compared to 54.2 per cent across all industries.

This increase in initiatives in our industry compared to all industries is seen in a number of areas including employer action on pay equity. The data provides that in mining in 2014, 27.8 per cent had conducted a remuneration gap analysis in the past 12 months, compared with 16.4 per cent across all industries. In 2017, this has increased to 45.2 per cent compared with 29.3 per cent across all industries.

While progress might seem slow and it may seem like there is a long way to go, the industry has come a remarkably long way in a relatively short period of time. However, there are still many areas where the industry is lagging which will be detailed in the upcoming report Gender Diversity in the Australian Resources and Energy Industry: Leading, Lagging or Losing out? released in early 2018.

For further information information or assistance on gender diversity in the resources and energy industry please contact AMMA’s AWRA Program Manager, Elspeth Jeffrey, at [email protected].