Here is a copy of an email alert that I received today. All about a new book on gender in mining. I quote below from the email and from the Amazon.com site where you can buy the book.
Not to be too prejudiced, but I will neither be buying the book nor reading it. Just all sounds too smarmy for my liking. I mean who wants to read about “how the everyday practices of the business of mining help to produce the gender of its employees.” Sounds spooky to me.
I have nothing new to say about the old debate about men or women driving mining trucks–I am told women are better drivers as they are more gentle and their trucks suffer fewer injuries.
I have nothing new to say about the debate of women chemical engineers in mining–many of my clients are such and it is a pleasure to work for them. They are smarter than the equivalent males.
I have nothing new about women environmental scientists in mining–no different from the men I know who do equivalent work.
I must admit that the women mining engineers I have worked with are tougher than the males–more attention to detail and the nuances of persuading committees to do their bidding.
Maybe these opinions are but based on specific instances of admirable people (women-in-mining) that I have been privileged to work for and with. Maybe not all women in mining are that lucky or that successful. But then I know of no women who entered mining who failed. They all succeeded way beyond the average.
I cannot believe this is an issue. And I hope it stays that way. I have always been of the impression that mining of all professions is as gender blind as any. If this book persuades you otherwise, then let me know.
Keep in mind the book is from Australia and maybe things in mining are not the same there as in Canada and the USA or the rest of the Americas for that matter.?
Launch of a new book on gender in mining
So you think you’re tough? Getting serious about gender in mining
by Dr. Dean Laplonge
This new work brings together many years of research and on-site work exploring gender in the mining industry. It offers a challenging and unique approach to help resource professionals understand contemporary research on gender, and to start to think beyond the “women in mining” debate.
“The preferred view of gender in the mining industry today assumes gender to be a natural part of who we are—that we behave as men or as women because that’s who we are. But we must start to think about how the everyday practices of the business of mining help to produce the genders of its employees. We must also start to consider how wider cultural understandings of gender affect the way we work as men and women in mining.”
The author of this new book, Dr. Dean Laplonge, has presented his ideas on gender in resource industries at conferences all over the world. As one of the founding directors of Factive, Dean has been committed to exploring why the mining industry has ignored so many ideas about gender that have been so prominent in gender studies over the past few decades. In this book he challenges resource professionals to recognise how “gender” must be understood as something far more complex than numbers of women.
“Masculinity is important, particularly in an industry like mining. There’s a need to explore practices of masculinity in the workplace. This is important when trying to understand the impacts of gender on safety and on workplace cultures. More broadly, there’s also a need to think about how a business or workplace is already gendered, and what this means in terms of the kinds of men and women who are preferred on site.”
There is more from Amazon.com:
So you think you’re tough: Getting serious about gender in mining brings together many of Dean Laplonge’s ideas and consulting experiences on gender and mining. In this book, he criticises the mining industry’s obsession with “women in mining”, and bemoans the lack of attention that is paid in this industry to broader research on gender.
Drawing on ideas from the fields of gender studies and cultural studies, Dean creates a new vision for gender in the mining industry which promises to break through the current impasse. Out is the old view of gender which relies on a distinct separation of men from women. And in comes a new view of gender which focuses on multiple and diverse ways of acting out as men and women. The shift appears simple, as we move from being genders to doing genders. But the application in the mining industry is proving to be difficult, not least because it demands we think about gender in terms of men and masculinities.
This book provides practical ways for mining companies to start introducing this new vision of gender into their workplaces. By focusing on the relationships between gender and safety, and gender and leadership, Dean argues we can begin to understand how mining is already gendered. And we can then finally start to develop real gender diversity on mine sites.
PS. Soon after posting the above, I received a private email reminding me of these sites on women in mining:
The email reminds me that the USA has no comparable site. To which I say bravo. For do we really need sites on:
- Hispanics in mining — how else would Central and South American mining be so successful?
- Gays in mining — I know a few, but have never heard even the most crude miner remark on it, for they are good folk contributing to mining like the rest of us.
- First Nations in mining–well there is a lot about that as they now own most of Canada and will be a major factor in future mining or not-mining.
- Chinese in Mining–they are there and will one day own most.
- Blacks in mining–or maybe just African Americans in mining–I am a European African American for what is it worth and there must never be a site on that, unless we get a site on South African whites in mining.
It all gets rather silly. This constant discretization into tiny and tinier groups. Let us face it: there is no dominant group in mining, or if there is, it reflects the normal workforce of the place and times. Let us focus on mining and the creation of opportunities for people of merit, ambition, energy, ability, and a simple desire to feed their families.