What are you in this industry/occupation?
I have spent my entire career in the male dominated industries of construction and mining. I enjoy working in industries where there are tangible outputs. I enjoy the remoteness of the minesites and the stunning landscapes in which they are.
I have worked alongside amazing people for all of my career.
The construction and mining industries are a comfortable environment for me.
I am a Director now having started my career as an accountant. I specialise in strategy which is a work I enjoy immensely.
What are the benefits?
Over my career the mining and construction industries have given me global opportunities – I have lived and worked in East coast and Western Australia, UK and the Middle East. I have worked on projects in Africa, North America, Asia and Europe.
What are the drawbacks?
When I first joined the mining industry it really was very blokey. I am so pleased to see how much it has changed over the last two decades – there is always room for improvement – however we should acknowledge the good work that has been done to date.
I used to often be the only female in the work environment and at times was the only female visiting the mine sites. I was one of the first female managers in Australia. It is so exciting to see women in many site based roles these days.
The construction industry has also changed dramatically. A management meeting ten years ago was full of rough language and all the behaviours you might imagine. There are times I recall chairing meetings where the rest of the people around the table (all male) would almost freeze you out and the meeting would happen as if you were not there. They wouldn’t talk to a female. Thankfully I don’t see that extreme behaviour now. These days the industry nurtures a very respectful environment (certainly in the organisations I work for).
The construction and mining work environments have come a long way. I would certainly recommend them as great career options for females.
Why do you encourage other women and girls to consider this industry/occupation?
Construction and mining today are industries that have amongst the lowest female participation rates in Australia. I am saddened by this and I would like this to change.
I would like young women and girls to have an open mind about these industries and to recognize the incredible opportunities that exist. I would also like them to understand that today there are very strong networks within companies in these industries and externally (like my online mentoring toolkit at www.steelheels.com.au) to support them.
I have had and continue to have an amazing career in these industries and I would like other women to appreciate they could have this too.