First-ever International Day of Women in Mining a success

IDWIM will now be marked each June 15.

By Donna Schmidt

NAM editor Donna Schmidt at a West Virginia underground mine in 2007.

The International Day of Women in Mining (IDWIM) will now be an annual event every June 15 thanks to the advocacy group International Women in Mining (IWiM), which has successfully launched the campaign.

More than 1,000 from around the globe participated in the inaugural virtual event to mark the occasion, a two-hour gathering that included mining professionals from companies, suppliers, academia, industry associations, students, unions, governments and more.

The highlight of the event program: keynotes from industry experts as well as a few first-time announcements. First, keynote speaker Rohitesh Dhawan, International Council on Mining and Metals CEO, said that “unless we walk the walk … the outcomes will not change substantially.” She also announced for the first time in a public forum “the steps being taken to improve the outcomes of diversity, equity and inclusion, which is a critical challenge for us as an industry to address.” 

This, she said, will include an update to ICMM’s Mining Principles, which reinforces the integral role of DEI to sustainable development, the actions needed to eliminate all forms of harassment and unfair discrimination from our workplaces, proactive steps to achieve gender equality and the unincumbered participation of all peoples, and cementing the importance of psychological safety alongside physical health and safety in our efforts to achieve zero harm.

Second, IWiM launched a new webpage called Respect at Work, a resource for survivors to anonymously share their stories of discrimination, bullying, racism, harassment and all forms of gender-based violence. The group said it believes this resource serves to raise awareness for everyone who works in the industry, regardless of their gender and how they self-identify.

Finally, IDWIM sponsor Covergalls Workwear launched a maternity wear line during the celebration. Their maternity cargo pants and work shirts are specially designed for every pregnancy stage, while also being high visibility and flame-resistant. 

IWiM founder and director Barbara Dischinger commented after the gathering: “Amazing to see the industry come together in celebration of the achievements to date, and to build a community which will enhance practices and activities collectively. 

“This campaign is an opportunity for individuals, companies, and organizations to collaborate and work on progressive initiatives that address the current requirements for more and better diversity, equity,  and inclusion in the industry. We are looking forward to the campaign continuing its work throughout the year.”

The campaign has already been endorsed by the World Gold Council, Albemarle Corporation, Hatch, Covergalls Workwear, BRIMM Mining Education and the University of British Columbia, among others. 

North American Mining thanks Women in Mining for organizing this important recognition and looks forward to joining the annual celebration long into the future.

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