Get grounded

Women can thrive in min­ing, writes Adam He­garty

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WOMEN have been urged to con­trol their emo­tions and be thick-skinned if they want to pros­per in the male-dom­i­nated min­ing in­dus­try.

On­line min­ing com­mu­nity Min­ing Fam­ily Mat­ters says women need to take ex­tra care to en­sure they over­turn fe­male stereo­types, which are still preva­lent among men work­ing in min­ing.

Min­ing Fam­ily Mat­ters psy­chol­o­gist Angie Will­cocks says women in min­ing should de­velop a core set of val­ues and goals to fol­low while also un­der­stand­ing their strengths and weak­nesses, to keep them­selves mo­ti­vated when the go­ing gets tough.

‘‘ This might sound ob­vi­ous but any woman con­sid­er­ing a min­ing ca­reer should ac­knowl­edge from the out­set that she is en­ter­ing a male­dom­i­nated in­dus­try,’’ she says.

‘‘ There’s no point get­ting on to an Out­back mine site and re­al­is­ing you can’t han­dle the blokey cul­ture.’’

Will­cocks says it is worth draw­ing up a per­son­alised man­age­ment plan that caters to a per­son’s his­tory and per­son­al­ity.

‘‘ A woman who grew up with three broth­ers, for ex­am­ple, will prob­a­bly cope on an all-male min­ing team much bet­ter than a woman who grew up with few male role mod­els,’’ she says.

Will­cocks says she de­vel­oped her tips af­ter speak­ing with suc­cess­ful women in a range of male-dom­i­nated in­dus­tries while also draw­ing on work­place re­silience strate­gies.

‘‘ Es­sen­tially, work­ing and thriv­ing in min­ing is about be­ing your­self – a re­ally su­per, in-con­trol ver­sion of your­self,’’ she says.

Will­cocks has even sug­gested women think about char­ac­ters they ad­mire from movies, as well as real peo­ple, to help de­velop strong be­hav­iour and at­ti­tude traits.

She says good ex­am­ples in­clude com­pas­sion, as­sertive­ness, strength, in­tel­li­gence, in­no­va­tion and be­ing calm.

She says com­mon cop­ing philoso­phies, such as prob­lem­solv­ing skills and an op­ti­mistic view of the work­place, are also im­por­tant for women to get ahead. She says peo­ple can fall into un­help­ful think­ing pat­terns when work­ing in tricky sit­u­a­tions.

DOWN TO EARTH: Women can han­dle the chal­lenges.

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