In a recent study published by the Responsible Mining Foundation on gender balance in the mining industry, it is no surprise that there is still work to be done. Encouragingly, the industry has taken strides and is recognizing the benefits of more women in the workforce. Mine managers cited that, “Greater gender diversity fosters innovation and improves team dynamics and communications.” We couldn’t agree more!
In the final post of our Celebrating SuXXess series, we speak with Ria Vagkli, a geologist at our Olympias mine in Greece. As a mother of two daughters, she is passionate about gender equality and equal opportunities. Read more on why Ria chose mining and what she hopes to see in the future for women in the industry.
Name: Eleutheria Vagkli, although most people call me Ria.
Job title: Chief Geologist at the Olympias mine in Greece.
Number of years with Eldorado: Over 6 ½ years.
Where are you from: I was born in Portaria, a village in southern Halkidiki. However, for the last 20 years I have lived in Stratoni, in northern Halkidiki with my family.
Checkout this short video featuring Ria.
What attracted you to the mining industry?
I chose geology as a career since I really like the science of geology. More specifically, I chose a career in mining because it incorporates many different aspects which are attractive to me both as a person and a professional.
The working conditions can be challenging, especially underground, however I really like it, and I believe that the best job you can do is the one you really enjoy. Further, the mining industry offers opportunities to move into different sectors and it provides growth for further skills development.
The projects I am involved in, the people I work with, the safety culture of Eldorado and the support of the management, all contribute to a challenging daily routine that boosts productivity.
I feel lucky experiencing such unique environments which are not common for most people. This keeps me enthusiastic and motivated after many years of work in the field.
Have you had any positive mentors in mining?
I would specifically like to mention Mr. George Perantonis, who introduced me to the mining industry. George has strong connections to the Kassandra mines area and worked as a geologist with Hellas Gold for many years before retiring. He was the person who gave me my first career opportunity in mining. Mr. Perantonis not only admired and believed in my skills, but also was a pioneer who bucked the general trend of the industry, which was male dominated back then.
How is the industry attracting more women to mining?
In the era of competitiveness, companies must choose the best talent, to build the most comprehensive and skilled team. Employing more women in the mining sector contributes to this.
With advancements in technology, the skills needed in the mining industry have dramatically changed. The increased demand for cutting edge technology, innovation and automation, have created more opportunities for women in the industry.
From a social angle, companies need to demonstrate that they are embracing diversity and creating equal opportunities for more women to follow a career in mining.
What has been your toughest business or professional decision?
As a manager, the most difficult issues have to do with managing people. Specifically, an employee’s termination during a company’s restructuring process is one of the most difficult decisions I had to work with.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
During my childhood, I was always curious to learn about new things and explore places outside of where I grew up. I remember watching different documentaries showing strange animal species as well as different cultures and ways of living. This helped me develop a very strong feeling of being an adventurer.
What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?
Young people are the leaders of tomorrow. I am a mother of two daughters and the very first thing I think about when I hear this question is one word: Equality.
I want a world where women can choose the lifestyle they want that will make them happy.
I want to change the perception that the only way to be respected is by being bossy. Both male and female role models in the workforce need to drive change in gender stereotypes and norms, to encourage women’s access to leadership.
Diversity is not a women’s issue. It is a humanity issue. Every human must contribute to achieve an equal society.
And that wraps our Celebrating SuXXess series. Thank you to all our amazing women who shared their challenges and opportunities that they face as a woman in mining.
In case you missed our previous posts, you can find them here: