A Gender Champion is a woman or man who is committed to achieving gender inclusion in the workplace. He or she leads by example through concrete actions that are designed to create genuine change both in workplace culture and programming in their organizations1.
A Champion demonstrates commitment and supports progress towards gender inclusion through constant communication and very visible actions.
Advocate for Change
Change and Develop
Manage any Resistance
Often a Gender Champion benefits from a trusted advisor – perhaps a senior woman leader, a more junior woman professional, a Human Resources professional, or a line manager – who can provide honest feedback, challenge behaviour in a constructive way, and prompt candid dialogue.
The Chamption’s Trusted Advisor
New manager or executive isn’t a supporter
Ensure business case is sound and fact-based; show how it links to the new executive’s priorities. Partner with the new executive’s trusted advisers to influence him or her.
Lots of talk, no action
Get some “quick wins’” Create practical action plans and defined accountabilities to take first steps that will be likely to show positive results quickly.
Too many initiatives, too little benefit
Manage the sequence and pace of activities, set priorities and only start initiatives that can be completed within reasonable time frames.
Concerns and resistance
Clearly communicate the business case for change – at the level of worksites as well as for the company and the industry. Be prepared with alternative perspectives to common myths and misconceptions. Be willing to engage in a candid dialogue.
Women avoid supporting the initiatives for fear of being “labelled”
Focus on the business case and share facts. Have champions reach out directly to talented women to encourage their participation. Be sure to capture and communicate the benefits achieved from early actions.
“Flavour of the month” program, enthusiasm flags over time or in tough times
Communicate the link between today’s actions and future benefits. Have a clear plan, with accountabilities, that shows how results will build over time. Measure progress and celebrate wins. Engage a few influential champions even more actively. Show that other worksites or companies or industries are keeping up the momentum.
Difficult to document the business case because data are not readily available
Choose one issue at a time to explore in depth – and use a variety of information. See the other tools for suggestions of metrics and useful information that might be available.
The following self-evaluation questions can help a Gender Champion assess how s/he is doing in relation to key aspects of the role, and identify any gaps to be addressed.
How truly knowledgeable am I about the barriers faced by women within the mining industry, and in my organization?
How able am I to notice the subtle systemic biases that might exist in our practices or in the day-to-day interactions I have at work?
How comfortable are the people around me to “call me out” on my own behaviour and biases?
How integrated are gender inclusion objectives with our organizational strategy and values? Am I clear enough with others about how gender inclusion supports our success as a company and as an industry?
How often and how widely do I talk about gender inclusion within mining as a priority – during all phases of the industry’s economic cycle?
How do I talk about what we are learning, our initiatives, actions and outcomes?
How uch time do I spend with senior and emerging women leaders in my organization, in our suppliers, or across the industry? How well do I understand their perspectives and priorities?
How do I respond when someone points out a subtle barrier to women’s full participation in mining?
How actively involved do I get in iniatives that will attract young women into mining careers?
How clear is my team about our gender inclusion expectations and level of priority?
How transparent is my team (and our search firms) about the selection crtieria for senior roles?
How clear are standards of acceptable and desired behaviours? How consistent are the consequences when standards are not met?
How do I acknowledge people with a track record of inclusive leadership?
How visibly and regularly do I support and role-model being able to balance work and personal life?
How comfortable am I ith addressing my own unconscious biases about men and women an gender roles in mining?
What signal does the gender composition of my top team send to my organisation, to the rest of the industry, and to career seekers?
Compared to other business priorities, how robust is our process for monitoring our progress on gender inclusion?
Have I set clear gender balance targets for my organization and team? What happens when targets are achieved or exceeded? Whats happens when they are not?
How integrated are discussions about gender balance into the performance appraisals of my people?
How am I held to account for gender inclusion objectives?
The Gender Equity in Mining (GEM) Works – Learn to Make a Difference e-learning program supports change agents in applying the GEM Works Toolbox to update policies and practices to identify and remove unintended barriers.
The GEM Works Executive Development Sessions are two halfday, interactive programs that enable mining leaders to succeed as a “Gender Champion” driving change towards a more genderinclusive workplace. The workshops include topics such as addressing questions of common concern, and storytelling, which can be invaluable elements of a communications and engagement plan.
IWiM is interested in “Engaging Men in the Conversation” because they are the key to change. As part of this, the organization wants to celebrate the men who are promoting women in mining and helping to narrow the existing gap
1 Mining Industry Human Resources Council (2016). Gender Equity in Mining (GEM) Works Toolbox. P. 6
2 T.W. Fitzsimmons & V.J. Callan (2015). Filling the Pool: A landmark report to achieve gender equality in Western Australia. Perth: The committee for Perth; Elisabeth Kelan (2015). Linchpin – Men, Middle Managers and Gender Inclusive Leadership. Cranfield International Centre For Women Leaders. Cranfield University.
3 Content adapted from: Chief Executive Women (CEW) (2013 – third edition); The CEW Gender Diversity Kit: For attracting and Retaining Female Talent. PP 66; Jeanine Prime and Corinne A. Moss-Racusin (2009). Engaging Men in Gender Initiative: What Change Agents Need to Know. Catalyst.