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Research impact

Seeking answers to low numbers of First Nations women in mining

This article appears in: Humanities and Social Science, Indigenous Knowledges
Jodi Cowdery is looking for Frist Nations women who work in mining

The mining industry has long be populated by non-First Nations men from outside of the nearby communities. CDU Researcher PhD candidate Jodi Cowdery from the College of Indigenous Futures, Education and the Arts, is investigating why there are disproportionately low numbers of First Nations women in the mining industry in the Northern Territory.

Most mining takes place on the lands of First Nations peoples, so it has such a big impact on First Nations peoples’ livelihoods, especially those whose communities are near mining projects.

Boots on the ground

Ms Cowdrey, who is undertaking her Higher Degree by Research, will be speaking to different First Nations women working on mine sites to understand some of the barriers and realities of their on-site work.

The research focuses on Indigenous female workers at the six major mining companies operating in the Northern Territory.

Mining employment - which is considered a benefit of mining and often used to promote and justify mining projects - is enjoyed mainly by non-First Nations men not from nearby communities.

Global outlook

Ms Cowdery chose to focus on mine sites so that any findings and recommendations could be implemented across the globe. Those mining companies in the NT also have mines across the globe.

Ms Cowdery said low representation of First Nations women is not isolated to the Northern Territory, or even Australia. Diversity in the workforce is an issue across many large mining companies globally.

Most companies have initiatives to attract more First Nations people into the workforce, and more women into the workforce, as distinct groups, but the nuanced experiences of First Nations women have not received the same attention.

CDU is actively seeking Higher Degree by Research students to join projects like these. Scholarships are available. Learn more.

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