To mark International Women’s Day, the women of Gaia Resources held a virtual meetup for all women in the company* to discuss our experiences as women in the workplace and how we can create positive change.
Before the event, individuals provided prompts to get our thoughts and discussion flowing. To test your own experiences and awareness, consider:
- Which women inspire you?
- Have you experienced workplace discrimination or abuse based on your gender?
- In what ways can we work towards a more equitable workplace.
- The role of ‘sisterhoods’ and gender-specific support groups, and how we can use these safe spaces to create social change (e.g. Men’s Sheds, women-only social groups).
The virtual discussion was illuminating – nearly everyone had experienced blatant sexism and discrimination, witnessed other women stand down in the face of sexism, and had their ideas ignored only to have the same idea stated by a male colleague taken seriously. Some of the experiences were downright heartbreaking.
However, these experiences had predominantly been at other companies (across a range of industries); thus an immediate takeaway was that we are very fortunate to work at Gaia Resources, where all staff are supported, regardless of sex, race, or creed.
So what makes Gaia Resources so different? We have to credit leadership for emphasising a positive company culture and hiring people who embrace a similar ethos – a persons skill set is not the only consideration when we hire new staff. This culture has been a primary focus of CEO Piers Higgs as he built the company over the years.
Even in this time of remote work, Gaia Resources has striven to provide cohesion, not just between colleagues in the same city, but across the country, including our smaller offices. While no workplaces are perfect, it was evident from our discussion that employees feel comfortable speaking up when they have an issue, understand that they have a support network, and know that their voices are heard. Both men and women take it upon themselves to create a welcoming work environment. It’s been noted that when you’re the only woman in a room full of Gaia men, you often don’t notice because it’s never made apparent. This is an incredibly rare thing and a refreshing change from many of our previous experiences.
A prime example of the positive culture at Gaia Resources is that we were encouraged to have this event on company time, in a format of our choosing. A big thank you to our executive team, Piers and Andrew, for making this possible and encouraging employees to have meaningful, challenging conversations about the big topics.
The writing of this blog post was a collaboration by many Gaia Resources employees
*Note: Whilst we considered extending the invitation to all staff, we opted for an initial safe space to explore thoughts and experiences.