Power of progress discussed during International Day of Women in Mining event in Chisholm

International Day of Women in Mining event in Chisholm

A day to celebrate women in the mining industry included an event in Chisholm on Monday.

International Day of Women in Mining just started in 2022. And the first event on the Range was last year, with about a dozen ladies.

Now, in 2024, a group of 80 women came together for the lunch at Valentini’s.

The Iron Mining Association and MiningMinnesota organized event. The theme is, “I am mining and I belong.”

Julie Lucas, Executive Director of MiningMinnesota, said the goal is to show support and encouragement, and community. “We all have each other’s backs,” she said. “Men are our biggest allies, and men are helping get more women into the industry.”

After enjoying a meal together, they heard from three panelists about their experiences in the industry.

Chrissy Bartovich just celebrated 25 years with U.S. Steel.

“It’s really fun to work somewhere that makes something. As for challenges about being a woman, I think a lot of it is perceptions. I think you really have to prove yourself, that you know what you’re talking about, and then you have to finding alternate ways to make those same relationships,” she shared. “Being a female and traveling with a male co-worker, can get awkward really fast.”

From NewRange Copper Nickel, Christie Kearney added her perspective. “I’ve had some really great role models, men and women, who helped me learn how to deal with difficult people. Because sometimes people on a construction site don’t want to hear what they’re doing wrong from an environmental inspector who’s a young woman.”

And Tawnya Gustafson is a steelworker with Local 2660 out of Keetac. “I gained respect from the men I work with. When you have their respect, you have a voice, and when you have a voice you can be a leader.”

She was the first Vice President of a union on the Range, and is now a trustee.

All three mentioned things have changed a lot in the industry since they started. From better policies and even better bathrooms.

Ladies who attended the event work for the mines, vendors, agencies and other businesses that support the industry.

Marci Knight, from Park State Bank, is also an IMA Board Member. “This is a great way to get our staff out to see what others are doing, and support these women and showcase what they do in an industry that is not like ours.”

Organizers are already hoping to grow the event for next year.

And there is an online event you can watch on Tuesday. Here’s a link to register. https://internationalwim.org/idwim/