First published on Australasian Transport News on 15 May 2013.

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

MORE effort must be put into attracting women to the resources sector to address skills shortages, Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA) says.

The industry-led group, which is dedicated to helping employers attract women to the sector and retain them, hopes to see a 10 percent increase in females in the sector by 2020.

It says the current number of women in the workforce is 15 percent.

AWRA spokesman Tom Reid says cultural barriers need to be removed and believes mentoring is necessary to help support women.

“What we’re saying is that there’s one in every 24 workers in the Australian resources industry who we want to ensure are women,” Reid says.

“The role of driving a truck in the resources sector is very attractive and a lot of people do strive to get there, particularly if they want to move out of driving in other industries and they want to go to mines because of lifestyle choices and higher wages.

“In the last two years we haven’t seen much movement in the percentage of women but it’s actually a good thing because we’ve got such explosive annual growth of employment every year to keep a consistent number which means that we’re actually attracting more women in real numbers than before.”

AWRA held its first conference in Melbourne yesterday with a focus on the evolving role of women in the resources workforce.