The Founding of WiM Finland
The Nimble-fingered of the Mining Industry
Text: Mari Kela, Johanna Alitalo
Photo: Heli Rautjärvi
Four women go on a cruise seminar organised by Vuorimiesyhdistys ry (Finnish Association of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers) and discover that not one of the speakers is female. In the wee hours if the morning, on the swaying ship, the Finnish sauna culture, mining related issues – and these together – are discussed. What is to follow? A new organisation – Women in Mining Finland (WiM Finland) – which wants more women to find their way to the mining industry, and to help women advance and find their terrain within the business.
The founding members of Women in Mining Finland were greatly amused by an article in the Materia journal published by Vuorimiesyhdistys, where the current CEO of the Bank of Finland Erkki Liikanen shares an occurrence with the board of directors of Outokumpu in the 1980’s. The anecdote also envoked deeper reflection on how and on what grounds companies act and make decisions.
“In the story the board of executives of Outokumpu presented [to the board of directors, of which Liikanen was a member] their will to cease a branch – manufacturing of copper intrauterine devices (IUD) – which, however, was the most profitable business unit. After wondering about this, Liikanen was answered that mining is the business of thick-fingered men and IUD products are far too small.” (Materia, 2/2018, p. 25)
Attitudes have much improved since the 80’s, but some dated thought patterns are still present within the mining industry. More than a network for women, WiM Finland seeks to be an association driving the industry towards equality, diversity, efficiency and profitability.
Women in Mining Finland can be easily joined by anyone interested in our activity. We listen to our members, and our operations are open, transparent and democratic. Our aim is to keep our events relaxed, casual and easy to take part in. We hope to gain member who are active and rich with ideas.
In the photo below the participants of the formation meeting of WiM Finland have switched from lively conversation and extremely efficient decision making to the development of appropriate hand signals and hails to spruce up the message of the association. \ | / WiM Finland aims to openly discuss and collaborate with mining companies, contractors, manufacturers and other interest groups. We are also interested to work with trade unions, educational establishments and decision-makers to further our goals.