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Photo: Lars Andersson

Nordic cooperation for increased equality in mining

Published: 10 April 2014

Few professional groups are so heavily linked with masculine symbolism and identity as a miner . A new project at Luleå University aims to change that image and increase mining industry attractiveness to women

– This is something that the Nordic mining companies have very high on the agenda . Can they become an attractive employer also for women it will be a great competitive advantage in today's global job market, says Eira Andersson, Assistant Lecturer at Luleå University and Coordinator of the project. Nordic Mining and the search for women which is the project name will start by investigate and analyze the gender equality efforts already undertaken in the Nordic mining industry.

Develop guidelines

– We will identify best practices, and building on the research front on gender equality , develop guidelines together with mining companies. Directive which they can then relate to in the future of gender equality work , says Eira Andersson.

Needs-driven research

The mining industry is well aware of the problem of male dominance in the profession and has been actively working on this issue for a long time.
– The desire to change is there but they lack the tools and knowledge to transfer that ambition into action , says Eira Andersson who believe that even the men in the mining industry would benefit from a more gender- balanced workplaces.
- Many male miners who I studied describes themsleves the need for change. Conservative workplace culture and macho ideal is in many ways destructive and ultimately could result in safety hazards for workers , she says.

Nordic cooperation

The project started on 1 April this year and is a Nordic collaboration between Luleå University of Technology , University of Oulu in Finland and Nordland University in northern Norway Bodö. The research group in Luleå consisting of Eira Andersson , PhD student Lisa Andersson and Professor Lena Abrahamsson will examine the mining companies LKAB , Boliden, Dannemora and Northland while scientists in Norway and Finland concentrates on mining operators in the neighboring countries. Eira Andersson am curious how this will affect the final result.
- It will be very exciting to see the synergies that a Nordic collaboration can provide, she says. Despite continued male dominance in the mines Eira Andersson experiences that the situation is about to change for the better .
- The ambition is there, and many of the largest companies in the industry have a stated goal that at least one third of all new employees is going to be women so surely progress is being made , she says.
The project is for two years and ends in 2016. Study funded by NordMin that NCM research effort in the mining area.