I am a seventh-generation Western Australian, white, Anglo-Saxon male metallurgist, who has worked in the mining industry for about 40 years. Given my background, it would seem unlikely that I would be a champion of diversity.
But that is exactly why it is crucial that I stand up for something I firmly believe in, and why more people, like me, need to add our voice to the discussion about diversity, inclusion and gender equity in this country.
I am proud of the progress we have made at IGO to attract women to work with us and to stay in the business. Thirty-one percent of our entire workforce are female and of these 28.5% are senior managers. This is significantly higher than the industry average but still a long way from reflecting a fair and equitable gender balance in the sector.
At IGO, we have multiple programs in place to actively support improvements to the industry’s gender ratio by unlocking innovative ways to attract, retain and promote increased female representation in mining and within our business. This includes providing flexible working arrangements, a progressive paid parental leave package, and graduate, vacation and scholarship programs to foster the development of the next generation of diverse leaders within our mining sector.
Even though, without any doubt, it is the right thing to do, it doesn't make business sense not to do it. Diversity of not only gender but also age, background, skills, experience and perspective, provide a platform for a more thorough understanding of the issues facing our industry today and the ability to be better equipped to remain innovative, nimble and effective at problem solving. Diversity has also been proven to improve business performance.
This is good business practice and in our fast-paced world the more robust our business thinking can be, the more equipped we are to sustain the ups and the downs of the cycle.
I believe we can make a difference. And that is why I am adding my voice to CEOs for Gender Equity who are not only calling for, but actively creating, this change for the better.
We will have achieved success when we no longer need to have this discussion and when the common understanding is that it is the right and logical thing to do.