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  • Erin Woolford

SA women in resources celebrated at awards

Inspirational women working in the South Australian resources sector were recognised and celebrated at the first ever South Australian Women in Resources awards, presented at a South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) lunch on Friday.

Four winning individuals were awarded from a pool of around 40 exceptional nominations, together with one company winner and one high commendation.

“The benefits of gender diversity in the resources sector are many and include improved business performance. These awards contribute to increasing this diversity by celebrating the ambassadors, mentors and role models instrumental in encouraging, promoting, attracting and retaining women in the sector,” SACOME chief executive Jason Kuchel said.

Chair of the WinRSA Aimee Chadwick said awards were a great way to recognise the valuable contributions that people are making in the sector.

“Celebrating the achievements that are helping to bring about real change is a positive step forward,” she said.

“Acknowledging the efforts of individuals and organisations is such an important milestone for the sector and supports the committee’s goal of increasing the participation of women in the resources industry and their advancement into leadership positions.”

South Australian Minister for the Status of Women, the Hon Gail Gago MLC attended the event, presenting two of the awards, and congratulated SACOME and Women in Resources SA on the initiative.

“The resources industry has historically been perceived to be a ‘man’s domain’ and the representation of women has remained low across all levels. However, the impetus for change is growing and there is now a focus on increasing the representation of women in these industries.” Minister Gago said.

“In an industry that continues to have low female participation, it is vital that we honour and celebrate those women who have contributed so richly to the resources sector.”


Gender Diversity Champion in South Australian resources Winner: Jo Barron-Perry (Senior Mining Engineer – Mine Growth at BHP Billiton) Highly commended: Kate Hobbs (Senior Consultant First Principles Consulting)

Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance Winner: Santos Limited

Outstanding South Australian tradeswoman, operator or technician Winner: Sabrina McKenzie (Plant Operator – Thiess at OZ Minerals Prominent Hill mine site)

Exceptional young woman in South Australian resources Winner: Helena Wu (Senior Reserve Engineer at Santos)

Exceptional woman in South Australian resources Joint winners: Jo Barron-Perry (Senior Mining Engineer Mine Growth at BHP Billiton) and Erin Woolford (Principal Consultant at Ninti Kata, formerly Superintendent Indigenous Programs at BHP Billiton Olympic Dam)

Gender Diversity Champion in South Australian resources winner Jo Barron-Perry was praised by judges for her increasing work with a variety of groups promoting and supporting women in the resources sector.

“Jo has made an outstanding contribution to the resources sector as it relates to the attraction, retention and advancement of women,” Ms Chadwick said.

“Her involvement in policy and advocacy initiatives as well as on-the-ground activities in various states and territories are testament to her passion and commitment to gender diversity.”

Jo’s active participation in industry bodies on a local, national and international level have been instrumental in creating awareness about the issue of Gender Diversity in the sector. The judges were impressed by the work Jo has done individually and also through groups in attracting and retaining women in the sector, encouraging male champions who value equality and diversity, and supporting women working and living in regional and remote areas.

The awards are an initiative of the Women in Resources South Australia committee, as part of its strategy to shape the future of South Australia’s resources sector by realising the benefits of the increased participation, retention and advancement of women. The committee will now nominate each state award winner for the National Women in Resources Awards, to be held later this year.

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