This week I had the privilege of interviewing one of my colleagues, Marija Jukic. Marija has always worked in male dominated occupations and has really interesting insights into how women can survive and thrive in that type of environment.
Marija was born in Auckland, New Zealand and went to Auckland University where she gained an MSc in Geology. She then worked as a geologist in mines in Western Australia. Marija says she stuck it out for a couple of years, but wasn’t particularly keen on mining as she missed the earthquakes and volcanoes that had first attracted her to geology. So she moved to Sydney to do an MSc in Hydrogeology and Groundwater Management at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Marija’s idea had been to use her newly acquired knowledge to work for an international aid/development agency, but she ended up spending the next 17 years working primarily as a consultant in contaminated land, with a short detour into clean water hydrogeology.
In 2015, Marija moved back to New Zealand after 19 years away and is now working at Auckland Council as a Senior Specialist Advisor in Contaminated Land, with the view to making a positive difference.
Marija talks about some of the difficulties she and female colleagues encountered working in the mining industry but points out that as it was very obvious sexism, it was in some ways almost easier to deal with than the more subtle sexism women are more likely to encounter now.
Marija says that it is essential that women have the support of other women to help them deal with the difficulties they encounter in the workplace.