P.E.I.'s minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Paula Biggar wrapped a two-day conference in New Brunswick, where she discussed the opportunities for, and barriers facing, women in the energy and mines sector.

Saint Andrews, N.B., hosted this years Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference — a meeting of mining and energy ministers from across the country held to discuss new and better practices for the sectors.

"I did do several presentations to my colleagues, one of which was in regards to … how can we look at the barriers and best practices to have more women involved in the energy and mining sector across the country," Biggar said.

Barriers for women

"Some of those barriers can be around hiring practices for women and opportunities, as well as child care and the fact that there is a need for women in that sector," she said.

One of the things the ministers discussed, Biggar added, is how the sector can better adapt to the lifestyle of mothers wanting to enter the field. 

Child care side of the sector 'not conducive' to life balance

"When you're in that sector, often you have to go to in the field for months at a time, and that's not always possible for women who have children at home — it's beginning to look at how to better adapt that lifestyle to encourage more women into the field," Biggar said.

"The child care side of it … is not conducive to life balance."

She added that it's necessary for the industry to not only promote women to enter post-secondary education in the sector, but also recruit directly from schools as well.

"In our education system, we can look at what opportunities we are providing our young women — to encourage them to be involved in those courses and better prepare them at the post-secondary level."

It's important, she said, for the sector "to reach out to the universities as well, to women who are studying engineering and recruit at that level instead of waiting for them to come to the sector."

With files from Krystalle Ramlakhan