NSW Women in Mining Awards is a celebration of both men and women who have made a significant effort to increase gender diversity and participation in the NSW mining industry.
And men are playing an important role in increasing diversity and attracting and retaining women in the mining industry, including gender diversity advocate Tim Witney, a Production Manager at BHP, who won our Gender Diversity Award in 2019.
The Gender Diversity Award is given to an individual - male or female - for excellence in the encouragement, promotion and advocacy for the attraction, retention, inclusion and promotion of women within their company and/or the NSW mining sector.
Tim’s manager encouraged him to enter the awards program, praising the work that his team had delivered to support parents returning to the workforce. This included mentoring three women who went on to become supervisors and a female employee who was supported to return to work after five years.
“My manager Kirsty was the one who suggested entering the Awards. She felt strongly about the work we were doing, assisting both males and females return to the workforce after they returned from parental leave,” Tim told us.
“Our work was about driving a cultural change within the wider industry and encouraging males, in particular, to be active within the change. Gender diversity is about encouraging both males and females back into the workforce, as well as single parents.”
Tim is passionate about encouraging his male colleagues to drive positive change for the wider industry, which he says is incorrectly stereotyped as a ‘man’s world’.
“I wanted to help transform the industry to represent the reality within society,” Tim said.
There is still some perception that the NSW Women in Mining Awards is solely aimed at celebrating the achievements of women. While this is important, Tim also wanted to raise awareness and help remove the barrier to men entering the Awards.
“There’s still a stigma attached to the Women in Mining Awards, which I was aware of when I was nominated. The entire event changed my mind,” he said.
“I networked with some amazing people, both male and female. I want to encourage others, both male and female, to put themselves forward.”.
As a result of winning the Gender Diversity Award, Tim has seen increased uptake in joining the Local Inclusion & Diversity Committee (LIDC), a collaborative workgroup at BHP on each work site.
The groups focus on local opportunities and programs to enhance the culture of the workforce and open up opportunities to further enhance the company’s diversity and inclusion model.
Tim’s advice to anyone thinking of entering this year’s awards is to believe in yourself and the impact you’ve made. It takes a village, as they say, and recognising the efforts other people in your team have made to support your work is a valuable way to show appreciation.
“Don’t underestimate yourself and your contribution to positively changing the culture. Be proud of your work and what you are putting forward. It is also important to recognise your team as well as yourself,” Tim said.
“The more submissions and new ideas we share, the more people can learn from these achievements and make positive cultural changes in their own organisations.”
Our Awards program includes six awards, including the Gender Diversity Champion category.
Entries close next Friday 4 March.