Should women become “one of the boys” to work in mining?

The biggest problem that I have with some of the assertions in this article is that they start from the premise that being a woman somehow prevents you from being able to perform in your role, rather than focusing on the real issue that there is a problem with the culture in workplaces. I liken this proposition with those propounded to victims of rape by questioning whether they could have done more to protect themselves, as opposed to focusing on the actions of the person committing the wrongful act(s). The part of the story that best evidences my above concerns is:

“Women need to start helping themselves if they want to advance in the mining sector”, said Nichole McCulloch, managing partner at the Ashton Partnership, an executive search firm in London.“The question is what women can do to equip themselves in the mining sector. The men I’ve come across have zero hesitation to put their hands up for senior positions, but women hold back, thinking they’ll come across as being too pushy.”

However, I do agree with the sentiment of Ms McCulloch that “women in senior positions should reach out to their counterparts at junior level.” The problem I see with holding this ideal is that there needs to be enough women in senior positions to be able to promote women in junior positions and it ends up becoming a ‘chicken or egg’ argument. This is why I believe that workplaces and governments need to have policies and targets for the promotion of women (and other minority groups) to aim for equal representation within workplaces. 

For Erin, who despite being a minority in every sense of the word, never will be in my mind. 


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