How Kym Clark became a pioneer for women in mining

Kym Clark never thought she’d be a pioneer for gender equality in the mining industry, but in creating her business She’s Empowered, that’s exactly what she has become.

At the time, Kym was climbing the corporate ladder as a management accountant at Foxleigh Mine in central Queensland. Kym was in a meeting with her pregnant manager and twelve male colleagues when she first noticed something the men in the room had missed: the discomfort of her manager, due to the improper fit of the high-vis shirt she was wearing.

Kym realised there was no maternity high-vis for women working in trades and knew this was her chance to make a difference. That night, she jumped straight into research mode for her own line of high-vis maternity wear.

Mining is the most male-dominated industry in Australia, with just 16 per cent of women making up the workforce. However, it’s not just in mining that gender inequality is prevalent.

Nationally, across every industry and on every occupational level, there is a gender pay gap that favours men. Women continue to be underrepresented in senior management roles, with only 16.5 per cent of women sitting at the CEO level.

Kym is passionate about challenging status quos around gender in the construction and mining industries. This was what motivated her through the ups and downs of starting her own business – the determination to support her fellow women.

“I always wanted She's Empowered to be about more, which is the diversity and the inclusion […] That's one of the best parts of my job, is receiving the emails from the ladies wearing our work wear saying thank you, that you've made going to work, getting dressed in the morning, easy.”

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Kym’s continuing focus with She’s Empowered is to help women to feel comfortable and capable in their working environment. She encourages Aussies to call out gender disparities in their own industries to pave the way forward for equality.

Listen to Kym's powerful story on the first episode of Paper Cuts.