First of all, a big thank you to WGC for offering us this opportunity to introduce Me Too Mining Association (MTMA) to the hard working women geoscientists in Canada.
MTMA was founded in February of 2018 to start the conversation around sexualized violence, sexual harassment, intimidation and discrimination (SVHID) in the mining and mineral exploration industries and in mining impacted communities. Susan Lomas is the founder and President of MTMA and she realized, when the Metoo Movement started, that she had dismissed and discounted a lot of inappropriate behaviour towards her or in her presence in her 30 years as a geologist in Canada and while on international assignments. There was no discussion in mining around these behaviours and there was no organization that was addressing SVHID in mining, so she started MTMA. Those of us that are working hard in this industry, want to focus on our jobs and do our work in an environment that is safe, respectful and free of sexual harassment, we all have that right!
Susan is joined by Deborah Archibald (Vice President), Julia Gartley (Director) and Ali Shahkar (Director) and together are working hard on recommendations for Sexual Harassment, Bystander Intervention and Respectful Workplace policies, procedures and training modules to address SVHID in mining and mining impacted communities.
It is going to be a busy spring for MTMA as we spread our message at various conferences and talks in 2019.
- January 28-31st, AMEBC RoundUp (Vancouver) with our own booth on the 30th and 31st (#1524)
- January 29 @ 4pm at Elephant and Castle (Vancouver) for a joint event with WGC and WIMDI
- March 3-6th, PDAC Conference (Toronto) come visit our booth #6428 in Trade Show North area
- March 5, PDAC Conference (Toronto) Susan Lomas invited on panel discussion on gender, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
- March 14th, WIMBC Luncheon Talk, Location to be announced
- April 4 @ 5:30 pm, WIMDI talk, Location to be announced
- April 28 @ 1 to 5:00 pm, CIM Conference (Montreal), MTMA is giving a short course on finding solutions to workplace sexual harassment through building a respectful workplace and Bystander Intervention Strategies.
At the conferences MTMA will have information pamphlets on sexual harassment in the workplace and bystander intervention strategy suggestions. There will be an opportunity to take The Bystander Pledge and sign our table runner. It would be great if you would stop by and say hi!
So what are some of the things you can do when faced with or witness inappropriate behaviours in the workplace?
- The first step is to assess the situation, is everyone safe? There is no one answer or solution for action as there are multiplicities of scenarios and behaviours around unacceptable situations. Your first priority is your safety and the second is for the safety of the targeted person.
- If it is safe, be bold and be direct; address the behaviour but do not attack the harasser. You can use statements that are short and succinct like:
o Knock it off!
o That is not funny!
o That is harassment!
o That is racist!
o That is inappropriate!
o That is disrespectful
o That is not ok!
o Leave me alone! ….her alone! …him alone! …them alone!
o Do not say that to me! …to him! …to her! …to them!
o Get your hands off me! …her! …him! ...them!
o Back away from me right now! …him right now! …her right now! …them right now!
- If you are concerned for your safety or for someone else’s, then get help through bystanders or authority. If safety is a serious concern then call 911, call security or a manager or supervisor. If there are bystanders then enlist their help or if there are coworkers close by, go get them. Disrupt the situation and distract the harasser by asking an unrelated questions like “What time is it?” or drop something and make a loud noise or spill coffee or water.
- Once the target is removed from the situation, check in with them and ensure that they are ok and brought to a place of safety and security.
- As soon as is possible, document the incident in a journal, personal email to yourself or an electronic document. It is important to keep a record of all incidents we experience or witness. Record the following information:
o Name of harasser(s)
o Name of targeted person (s)
o Name of all witnesses or bystanders
o Date and time
o Detailed description of inappropriate behaviour or statements and document any touching or contact.
o Attach hardcopies of any electronic communications including emails, texts, social media posts, etc.
o Photograph any graffiti or images that may be part of the incident
o Record all physical and emotional reactions of you as the witness, bystander or target
o Remember that it is better to write too much detail rather than too little
o Document all visits to doctors, counselors or therapists that are related to the incident
- Report the incident to the company. Sexual violence and sexual harassment are under-reported across all industries but this has to change. Companies need to enact or adjust policies and procedures so they can address these issues in the workplace and this cannot be accomplished if incidents are not reported. If your company fails to act or has a dissatisfying outcome, you have the right to file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission as all Canadians have the right to a workplace free of sexual violence and sexual harassment.
Keep in touch with us and our activities through our website, which is basic right now but it is going to grow with information on sexual harassment in the workplace, bystander intervention policies, resources for support and reporting and more! We are also on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn (@metoomining).