By Jacques Farmer, MD at PRISMA Training Solutions

Women are leading a transformation in the mining industry, pioneering the shift towards gender equality and empowerment. Redefining a traditionally male-dominated field, these women are helping create a more inclusive and equitable workplace for all. To attract and retain female talent to shift the numbers of women in mining, industry professionals are advocating for changes in attitudes and structures. To strike at the heart of change, specialist training providers should be an important catalyst in levelling the playing field through specific programmes and mentorship initiatives tailored to create opportunities for women in mining, while addressing the unique challenges they face. With their determination and resilience, women in mining – supported by training providers – are making remarkable progress, but the work is far from being done.

Addressing challenges and promoting equality

There are various challenges and barriers encountered by women that hinder the progress of equality in mining. These include gender stereotypes, limited representation, restricted access to opportunities and career development, work-life balance difficulties, health and safety concerns, harassment and discrimination, and a lack of supportive policies. To foster a more equitable industry, a fundamental shift in attitudes is essential. Overcoming these obstacles requires establishing an inclusive culture, implementing supportive practices and policies, providing mentorship and networking opportunities, and delivering targeted training programmes that foster women’s personal growth and leadership development, to challenge traditional perceptions of women’s roles in the industry. Structural changes are also necessary to create an environment that enables women to thrive. Here, training providers can work with mining organisations to play a vital role in empowering women, by equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their careers.

Jacques Farmer, MD at PRISMA Training Solutions. Image credit: PRISMA Training Solutions

Jacques Farmer, MD at PRISMA Training Solutions. Image credit: PRISMA Training Solutions

Skills to advance women

Such programmes can be tailored to the specific needs of women in the mining industry in several ways. In terms of skills development, training programmes can focus on developing technical skills specific to mining operations, such as geological exploration, mine planning, equipment operation, and safety protocols. These programmes can provide women with hands-on training and practical experience to excel in their roles, while delivering courses that provide women with an in-depth understanding of the mining industry and its trends, challenges and opportunities. This knowledge equips them to make informed decisions, contribute effectively, and stay updated with industry advancements. Just as important as technical skills are the development of soft skills. Training providers can provide a specific focus for women to develop essential soft skills, including communication, negotiation, networking, and resilience. These capabilities are vital for women to effectively navigate the mining industry and grow in their careers.

Supporting personal and leadership development

To expedite progress in the mining industry, leadership and management training for women is imperative. Training providers can facilitate courses and workshops designed to enhance leadership and management skills, covering topics like conflict resolution, decision-making, problem-solving and team building – empowering women to take on leadership roles within the industry. Leadership capabilities can be further developed through mentorship and coaching initiatives, and training specialists can connect women in mining with experienced professionals who can offer guidance, support, and career advice. Such support is invaluable in helping women navigate the industry, overcome challenges, and unlock their full potential. In addition, personal development training can empower women to overcome barriers and thrive both personally and professionally, addressing areas of focus such as self-confidence, assertiveness, work-life balance, and self-care.

Promoting industry-wide diversity and inclusion

For the workforce as a whole, diversity and inclusion training is necessary to educate the industry about the importance of creating an inclusive work environment and challenging biases and stereotypes. These programmes can help foster a culture that values and supports women in mining. In these ways, the involvement of training providers can be fundamental in attracting and retaining women in the mining industry, by yielding several tangible benefits. By actively involving training providers in promoting gender diversity, the mining industry can create a more inclusive and diverse workforce. This diversity brings together a wide range of perspectives, experiences and skills, fostering innovation and problem-solving, which drives the industry. Attracting and retaining women through specialised training programmes gives the mining industry access to a broader talent pool of qualified and skilled professionals, which can help address labour shortages, bring fresh ideas, and contribute to the industry’s growth and competitiveness.

Paving the way for women through industry transformation

Women in mining are determined to challenge conventional norms and strive to dismantle gender obstacles, paving the way for equal opportunities and representation. Demonstrating a commitment to gender equality and inclusivity through the involvement of training providers can enhance the mining industry’s reputation. Such visible commitment aligns with societal expectations and demonstrates social responsibility, attracting stakeholders who value organisations that prioritise diversity and equality. By embracing collaboration and inclusivity, and recognising the invaluable contributions of women, the industry can continue to evolve, break down barriers, and unlock the full potential of women in mining.