When Anna Tudela walked into her first mining conference, she was the only women in a room packed with men. She was sure she had found the wrong place.
On October 18, the vice-president of diversity, regulatory affairs and corporate secretary at Goldcorp was happy to see other women at the Maintenance, Engineering and Reliability/Mine Operations Conference (MeMO) in Sudbury, where she participated in a panel on diversity and inclusion.
She was joined by Jennifer Maki, executive director of Vale Base Metals, and Sudbury’s Ron Sarazin, special projects coordinator at Gezhtoojig Employment and Training. The panelists tackled gender, Indigenous peoples, immigrant labour, and mental health and wellness in mining.
A common thread throughout the evening was that things are better than they were, but as Maki said: “It’s early on in our journey, and we still have a long way to go.” Maki shared Tudela’s experience of feeling like part of a small faction in her field.
“When you walk into that room for dinner, there are 120 men and probably less than five women,” said Maki. “No matter where you are in your career – I can share with you – it’s still daunting to walk into that room.”
However, Maki hopes that growing evidence will encourage companies to draw more on women in the workforce.
“Years of research show that companies with more female leadership have better financial results,” she pointed out. “The programs that we’ve recently launched [at Vale], it’s the right thing to do.”
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