International Women’s Day

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Gender trends in the AIG membership over the last 20 years

This graph shows the proportion of female AIG membership per age bracket over the last 20 years.

It evidences a significant rise in female membership proportion over that time for early career geoscientists less than 25 years old (aka ‘Next Gen Geos’) to a near equity position. This is a great trend for our Institute!

For the next age bracket of 25-35 years old there has been an increase in part over the two decades but at a lower rate than for the youngest bracket. Given this cohort in 2021 had near parity gender balance 10 years earlier when 25 years old, why has this happened?

Perhaps it is a sign of the challenges of a maintaining a geoscience career while enjoying a ‘normal’ life irrespective of gender. It is also likely a sign of the attrition on geoscience professionals from the severe downturn in the minerals sectors between 2012-2018.

The remaining age groups show a slow but steady increase – a positive sign, but still far from the balance which is our opportunity with future generations.

So how can the AIG better support female members through the pathway of their careers?

We can all help to better support the 25-35 year old age group no matter their gender – help to keep their interest, knowledge and skills current and evolving to best assist their continuance or re-entry into the profession.

This is a strategic challenge recognised by our Board – we welcome your ideas and participation.

Dale Sims – AIG President

#Breakthebias Reflections

I’ve been fortunate to have some real key female role models early on in my career and I thank them for paving the way for my generation. We are starting to turn the inequality due to the collective approach in the industry. It’s the dads of my generation which are also taking paternity leave. It is starting to normalise having a child and continuing with your career. It’s positive to see that within the last 5 years there are more females in the 7-15 year experience bracket because there isn’t an expectation to give up your career. I encourage everyone to #breakthebias and continue to call out the unacceptable behaviour to ensure that we are setting a better standard for the next generation.

Genna McDonagh
AIG Director

Nicole Galloway #breakthebias underground at Mount Isa Mines, QLD 1988.

As one of the first few females to work underground to one of only a handful of female Managing Directors of a listed ASX /LSE company, I have not let gender define or restrict my career goals. I would like to think that the often difficult road I and many other females in our industry have had to navigate since the late nineteen eighties is now a thing of the past for today’s generation of Geoscientists.  It’s only by the presence of strong role models and calling out unacceptable behaviour that we can continue to make our industry more inclusive and attractive to all. Working together we can #breakthebias

Nicole Galloway Warland
AIG Director

Nicole Galloway #breakthebias underground at Mount Isa Mines, QLD 1988.

#Breakthebias Reflections

Over the last 10-15 years, I have seen a huge positive change in diversity and equality within our profession, particularly the mining industry. No longer is it acceptable to tell a woman to ‘go back to the kitchen’, or openly objectify in a public setting. Additionally, as a career driven female with a young family, there is more support and appreciation of the fact that yes, I can go and have a baby, and yes, I can come back to an office job where my geoscience contribution is still valuable to my company. Of course, there is still more work to be done in the diversity and equality space, but I remind my impatient self that these things do not happen overnight. At least we can talk about the fact that we work in a white, male dominated industry, and express our frustrations. That was not even possible 15 years ago.

Leah Moore
AIG Director

#Breakthebias Reflections

I have started working in the mining industry some 25 years ago, and since then there have been significant improvements in the way that female geoscientists are regarded. There have been important changes in the flexible working arrangements enabling women to raise children and stay in the workforce if they wish to do so. However, I have always considered that maintaining high level of professionalism is above any gender issue.  Coming from very harsh background has empowered me to help and encourage other younger women in the profession.

Katarina David
AIG Director

I graduated as a geologist in 1996, as a single parent of a 5 year old. I was lucky to find an understanding employer, then Perseverance Corporation at Fosterville (now Agnico Eagle), that enabled me to work family friendly hours. It’s been challenging to stay in the industry and work around family commitments and at times I’ve worked in other industries because it was easier. Now back in the industry for the last 12 years (predominantly support roles after having more children), I see women are prominent in the industry like never before and I’m continually in awe and humbled by the successes of my female peers. They motivate me to keep working hard to reach those heights.

Fiona Czuczman (Makin)
AIG News Editor and Webmaster
Fiona & Corey (Fiona’s rock) attending a SMEDG Cruise.

This year’s IWD theme is #breakthebias.

Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field.

Please join our community of professional Geoscientists to progress womens equality, and create positive change – help us break the bias.

Dale Sims AIG President