Women make up just nine per cent of board members in top mining companies

Women hold just 35 of the 377 board member positions for the global mining and minerals sector, proving that gender equality is a long way off, according to a report by EY.
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The research shows that only 56% of respondents from across industries believe their organisation is effective at identifying, retaining and promoting female leaders. 55% agree their company could do more to improve gender diversity.

Miguel Zweig, EY Global Mining & Metals Leader, commented:

“Women have a significant role to play in the future of the global mining and metals industry, and yet they remain underrepresented. Mining and metals companies must a find way to address shortfalls in the talent pipeline to remain competitive in today’s volatile market.”

Due to these findings, EY and Women in Mining have created seven principles to help women to grow into leadership roles across the sector.
They are:

Lead with sponsorship, support with mentoring

Active sponsorship provides women with access to development opportunities that are not otherwise available, while mentorship ensures they are supported when pursuing these opportunities.

Nominate leaders to lead the program

The initiatives that most effectively promote the progression of women are driven by senior management. Buy-in from senior leadership improves funding, endorses inclusive best practices and draws management participation.

Encourage talent at all career stages

Advancing more women into leadership roles requires support at all career stages. Having systems to identify motivated individuals at all levels helps to maintain the talent pool of women and identify those who may require additional support.

Overcome the geographic disparity roadblock

Mining and metals companies face the unique challenge of attracting talent to remote operations. Geographic barriers make inclusive development initiatives even more essential to ensure individuals feel connected to the larger organization and potential career opportunities. Trialing ideas in one location or region and leveraging technology to improve communications are two ways mining and metals companies can overcome this roadblock.

Measure the results

To build a strong platform for progress — and showcase the business impact of gender diversity — mining and metals companies must first develop a benchmark for which to measure against and identify key performance indicators to measure progress.

Empower women to help themselves

Mining and metals companies can empower women by providing mentoring tools and access to role models and sector groups. High-performing individuals will seek these tools, as well as the opportunities and encouragement they need to set their career on the right path.

Keep it low cost

Research shows that having more women at board level improves business performance, but in today’s current economic environment, investment in gender diversity programs is often met with resistance. Not all programs need to come with a steep price tag, however. Mining and metals companies should consider combining individual mentoring with existing HR-driven group development sessions, or identify external organizations that facilitate networking or mentoring.

The Managing Director of Women in Mining (UK), summarised:

“The principles identified in the report provide mining companies of all sizes with easily implementable ideas that will encourage women’s advancement within their organizations. Women in Mining (UK) looks forward to continuing to work with mining executives to promote and progress women in the mining industry.”


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