Breaking down the barriers in resources
Rising female stars across WA’s resource sector say there is no better time for women to consider a career in mining, oil and gas, with a booming commodities market providing a wealth of job opportunities.
Laura Allen, a process owner at Woodside who supports the energy giant’s operating assets, said women had the chance to build a trade into a career.
“The stereotypes have come and gone, companies are breaking down the social norms,” she said. “I went from a domestic electrician to industrial mining, then to oil and gas, and to international assignments — the career can take you anywhere.”
Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA chief executive Paul Everingham said increased construction activity in the sector, more spending on exploration and higher prices for iron ore and gold were behind the explosion in job opportunities.
“With women making up 20 per cent of the workforce, they are moving into roles which have traditionally not been considered as an option for women,” he said.
Kristen Pelc, who joined South32 in 2017, said the mining industry was actively working to tear down barriers to female
participation. “Today, we have women working as operators, technicians, engineers, finance experts and so much more,” she said.
“It is a misconception that you must be an engineer or geologist and work remotely to have a career in mining.”
Fortescue Metals Group reliability engineer Pooja Haria, who works fly-in, fly-out at the company’s Solomon hub near Tom Price, said equal opportunity has
been achieved by “advocating and acknowledging women in a variety of roles, from mine to market”.
All three women were among finalists in Friday night’s CME Women in Resources awards.
Sara Braund, vice-president of digital technology at South32, was awarded outstanding woman in resources, while Ms Haria was named outstanding young woman in resources and won the people’s choice award.