Women can thrive in mining, writes Adam Hegarty
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.