Sudbury group encourages women in mining, ‘shattering stereotypes’ in the process

2021-10-07 08:21:25

A new group in Sudbury, Ont., wants to help more women get jobs in the mining industry.

Women represent around one in 10 workers in Canada’s mining industry, and number that hasn’t changed much in the last 10 years, according to Jennifer Dallaire, treasurer of the Sudbury chapter of Women in Mining.

The chapter launched in early 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it just recently held its first networking event.

About 50 people participated in the event. They ranged from women already working in the industry, to students and business owners.

“We encouraged people to take a survey so that we could get great feedback on what it is exactly they want Women in Mining in Sudbury,” Dallaire said.

Dallaire said one of the organization’s goals is to change the perception around mining.

“I think for so long, it’s sort of been viewed as a dirty industry,” she said. “People think you’re working on a jackhammer or, you know, hauling coal up a dark tunnel, but there are really thousands of jobs, so many of which that people don’t even realize are an option.”

Women in Mining’s Sudbury chapter launched in early 2020. The organization works to encourage more women to enter the mining industry. (Supplied by Jennifer Dallaire)

In her day job, Dallaire works as a project controls specialist with Stantec, a professional services company that offers consulting services in many industries, including mining.

She said companies in the mining sector have started to realize the benefits of encouraging more women to enter the industry.

“Now that the data’s sort of coming to the forefront, companies know that diverse and inclusive groups are more creative, more innovative and overall more profitable,” Dallaire said. 

“It’s about shattering the stereotypes and making room for everyone, especially when there are so many opportunities. There’s such a shortage in the workforce right now. And then when you pair that with this amazing untapped resource, you can really solve problems.” 

Fewer women in senior roles

In a 2020 report, the business law firm Osler found women were less represented in senior management roles in mining companies compared to other industries in Canada.

The report found 16 per cent of directors at mining companies in 2020 were women, compared to 20 per cent for all companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), and 31 per cent for the top 60 companies on the TSX and Standard and Poor’s indexes. 

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