International Day of Women in Mining 2024: Q+A with IWiM Founder Barbara Dischinger

Today marks the start of the International Day of Women in Mining 2024 celebrations. This is an annual campaign dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of gender diversity and inclusivity in the mining industry.

By showcasing the achievements of women in mining and promoting best practices, IDWIM aims to inspire positive change and encourage stakeholders to champion gender equity. This year’s theme, ‘I am mining and I belong,’ highlights messages of inclusion, empowerment, and advocacy for a transforming industry.

IWiM which started the campaign, is hosting a two-hour IDWIM 2024 online event on Tuesday, June 18th.

Our Principal in Mining & Metals Danielle Hatton caught up with Barbara Dischinger, Founder and Director of IWIM, ahead of this to see what she thinks is changing in mining – and what she is most looking forward to in the year ahead.

Danielle Hatton (DH): How can companies in the mining sector better support and advance the careers of women?

Barbara Dischinger (BD): A big impact can be made through mentoring and sponsorship programmes, which helps support inclusivity across the workplace. Organisations should also create safer environments free of gender-based harassment – and if, or whenever, it happens also free of gender-based violence. This allows women to feel they belong. In turn this means they perform better and goes on to supports retention of female talent.

DH: What more can executive search firms like us do to ensure we are making a difference?

(BD): Educate clients. Identify those companies and business areas in the mining sector where women may not have linear careers or where potential is undervalued and look out for biases in the recruitment process. For example, we often see that "men are hired on potential, women are hired on past track record". Continue to create a more diverse sector by insisting on presenting female candidates on shortlists even if or when they don't fill the entire brief given. 

DH: What advice would you give to women considering a career in mining?

BD: There is a space for everyone in mining, considering how many different skills and roles exist and are required from exploration to finished product. It is a dynamic global sector working on super interesting challenges and on how to become more sustainable and inclusive, offering many opportunities and paying well compared to other sectors.  

DH: What are you most excited about for the International Day of Mining? events etc

BD: Seeing how it has grown over the last two years since the global day of observance was established in 2022. We are looking forward to hosting our own jam-packed high-energy event on Tuesday 18th, 2024, and have some surprise special guests. We can't wait to see the engagement from Friday 14th to Wednesday 19th on social media and how everyone is celebrating. 

DH: What will the next 12 months hold for IWiM?

BD: We are launching translations of some of our resources in French, Portuguese and Spanish on our website to reach a wider global audience. Also, we’re planning a DEI definitions page to help everyone navigate. This is as well as working on gender minesite audit survey tool for companies, which we hope to test with some of our corporate partners this year and launch in 2025.  


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