One of the gold industry's up-and-coming leaders, Cassie O’Connell, works as Senior Human Resources Advisor at Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine in Western Australia and will soon be making the case for a ’transformed system‘ to eliminate gender inequality in mining.
Cassie will be one of the panellists at the Gold Industry Group's Women in Gold Great Debate this Friday night at The Perth Mint.
The annual event will be held in conjunction with Women in Mining Western Australia, championing change to make careers in mining more accessible to women.
Cassie says that debates like this are essential to cast the spotlight on diversity among leading industry players. What makes this debate different is that it brings together panellists with different levels of experience.
“Opportunities to speak at such events are generally given to senior managers as they have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share," said Cassie.
"I am honoured to be involved. I believe it sends a very clear message that diversity of thought is key, and that this is everybody’s issue – no matter your age, experience, gender and culture."
As a young woman working in the mining industry Cassie is in the minority and is concerned that our industry is not making the changes required to ensure women join the industry.
"Statistics show that women make up 47% of the Australian workforce, but only 18% of employees in Western Australia’s resources sector. And even this number has decreased since its peak in 2011,” said Cassie.
Cassie believes the main reason the industry is not making progress is because gender inequality is still largely seen as a ‘female issue for females to fix’. However, addressing this issue and creating increased equality and diversity will have benefits for individuals, organisations, industries and economies.
"We need to create ‘burning platforms’, such as this event, to change attitudes and behaviours. And for those who remain sceptical, this debate allows them to voice their opinions and hear the responses.”
Cassie will be joined on the panel by BGC Contracting Chief Operating Officer Barry Bloch, Career Acceleration Expert and Author Katie-Jeyn Romeyn and Edith Cowan University (BEng) Student and Production Mining Operative Breanna Cameron.
Gold Industry Group Vice Chairperson and Gold Fields Vice President of Legal and Compliance Kelly Carter is excited to adjudicate the debate which will explore these challenging and topical issues for the mining industry in Perth’s first public debate.
“We are delighted to provide the opportunity for such a rich and diverse panel to debate these critical issues for our industry,” said Mrs Carter.