06/03/2015 - 16:25

Sombre reminder at resources awards

06/03/2015 - 16:25

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Alcoa chairman Alan Cransberg has called on businesses to take responsibility for ending domestic violence through workplace initiatives, in an address to the Chamber of Minerals and Energy’s Women in Resources awards today.

Sombre reminder at resources awards
CME Women in Resources awards finalists. Photo: CME

Alcoa chairman Alan Cransberg has called on businesses to take responsibility for ending domestic violence through workplace initiatives, in an address to the Chamber of Minerals and Energy’s Women in Resources awards today.

Mr Cransberg, who is a director of Our WATCh, a not-for-profit organisation run under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, made the comments to more than 1,000 who attended the annual CME event (scroll down to see the winners).

“The statistics of violence against women are horrible,” Mr Cransberg said.

“If you’re over 15, one in three women will have experienced violence, one in five will have experienced sexual violence, one in five will experience psychological violence, and once a week in Australia somewhere a husband or a partner kills the mother or the wife.

“The research says it’s nothing to do with your age or ethnicity or religion or social demographic, it’s about the fact that you’re a female.

“I relate (domestic violence statistics) back to the workforce; and part of the reason there are such horrible statistics here in Australia is around the fact that there is stereotyping of women and there is generally gender inequality.”

Political reporter and event host, Annabel Crabb, said the suggestion the workplace be used to address the issue of violence against women was “quite a radical idea”, because people typically regarded their work life as separate from their personal life.

However, Mr Cransberg said businesses owed it to their staff to have conversations, challenge negative attitudes, raise expectations about behaviour, and instil more inclusive practices.

He said these work practices would have a knock-on effect in people’s personal lives.

“We in the workplace ... not only have the opportunity, we have an obligation to make a difference within society and as leaders of the industry; we can help change society while improving our business at the same time,” Mr Cransberg told those at the event.

Mr Cransberg also advocated the promotion of workplace cultures that embraced diversity and provided development opportunities for all, a suggestion echoed by last year’s CME Women in Resources champion of women award winner, Stuart Forrester.

Mr Forrester, who is Iluka Resources Narngulu operations manager, said companies that engaged their workforce reaped the rewards.

“In 2013 we only had one operator resign, in 2014 we had two,” he said.

“Now they’re really low numbers and so we’re showing that that culture is so strong that people want to apply for our jobs and people want to stay within the business.”

2015 CME Women in Resources Awards winners

Outstanding company initiative: Atlas Iron, Women in Atlas

Atlas Iron instituted this initiative two years ago as a highly consultative and inclusive approach to implement pay parity, paid parental leave, mentoring and greater female participation.

Outstanding operator/technician/trade woman in resources: Margeaux Janenko, Kentz Engineering and Construction

• Margeaux Janenko was recognised for her work as an electrician at Chevron’s Gorgon project, including having specialised qualifications in hazardous areas and rope access, as well as her volunteer ambassador role for female tradespeople through TradeUp Australia

Outstanding woman in resources: Bronwyn Barnes, Alliance Mining Commodities

Bronwyn Barnes was honoured for her 15-year mining career, which includes ensuring effective corporate governance, winning government endorsement and approval and driving equity for indigenous people.

Outstanding young woman: Kalpana Maharage, Rio Tinto Iron Ore

• Kalpana Maharage was recognised for her work as a mining engineer, including her promotion to superintendent at the age of 26, making her the youngest and first female to hold the role at Paraburdoo, as well as her community work in town.

Women in resources champion: Linda O’Farrell, Fortescue Metals Group

• Linda O’Farrell has 18 years’ experience as a senior human resources executive in WA’s resources sector, including her work championing women’s growth and development in the sector.

People’s choice award: Geeta Thakorlal, Worley Parsons

• Geeta Thakorlal has 28 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry leading specialist teams of engineers and scientists and mentoring colleagues across Australia and overseas.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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