Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Psychology

School

School of Psychology

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Elizabeth Kaczmarek

Abstract

The present study aimed to address the gap in the current mining research by investigating women’s experiences of working in the mining industry in a “bluecollar” work role and the impact of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) mining on their wellbeing. An Interpretative Phenomenological Approach (IPA) was used as a framework to explore the experiences of 19 female machine operators through in-depth interviewing at one mineral mine site in Queensland, Australia. IPA analysis revealed three themes as identified by the participants. The first theme described how workplace barriers to job progression were salient issues for the women, particularly in respect to discrimination from male supervisors and hematite restrictions unique to this mine. The second theme titled, suspension of short term living for long term gain resulted in women putting their home responsibilities and relationships on hold. However, women with children in the study were able to describe how they could manage their family and work responsibilities with the aid of a significant other. Adaptation to the lifestyle was the third theme and women were also able to utilise adaptation and coping mechanisms to manage the discrimination and obtain a sense of belonging. As a part of adapting to the FIFO lifestyle, the women spoke of the need for time out for solitude as a response to living and working in close proximity to colleagues and partners. Further research exploring women’s capacity to juggle child and family needs with FIFO is suggested.

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