Barbara Dischinger and Deborah Craig, representing the International Women in Mining Community, recently met with representatives from the 30% Club in London to discuss how to increase the participation of women on the boards of mining companies. Included in this discussion was the development by International Women in Mining Community of a free web-based seminar to support women on their board journey (stay tuned!).
The 30% Club (30percentclub.org) was established in 2010 by London money manager Helen Morrissey, and seeks to increase the number of women on UK boards. The number of women on UK boards has doubled to 23% since 2010, an increase that has been partially credited to the Club’s initiatives. The Club would like to see 30% representation by 2015 – 30% being the level at which organisational psychologists agree a minority voice can be heard.
What did International Women in Mining Community take away from the meeting that would be relevant to our members on their board journey?
Network, network, network! Women simply don’t do enough networking – our 30% Club contacts said women should aim to network 69 days a year. That means that at least once a week you should be arranging a lunch, making a call, attending a seminar. Get out there and be seen and be heard! We know it is hard, but it is like any other skill – with practice it becomes easier.
Move out of your comfort zone. It is important to try to establish connections outside of your competency and outside of your industry. Try to meet people working in related, but different industries, doing other types of work, example construction, or non-profits, or government – mining touches on so many aspects of our society.
Gain board experience by participating on other boards and committees. Sit on the board of a local organisation – school committee, charity, small private company – to gain experience. Governance is about preparedness and common sense and moral clarity, and your experiences will be transferable to mining company governance.
Women need a hand up. It is important to be board-ready, but it is also important to have a hand up. We can’t do it on our own. People in senior decision-making positions need to join the conversation and show a commitment to gender diversity. International Women in Mining has been developing its “Engaging Men” initiative and we are ready to do more. Do you know any senior men who might like to hear more about International Women in Mining Community? We would like to hear from them!
Start the conversation early. The importance and positive effects of gender diversity need to be communicated early – at home, at schools, with younger colleagues. The message needs to be woven into the fabric of our societies. What can you do to bring the gender diversity conversation forward?
by Deborah Craig, Strategic Advisory