The Queenstown-based senior environmental advisor said she was even more surprised when she was listed as one of seven finalists in the Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources.
Ms Ritchie and Rosebery-based MMG human resources adviser Jennifer Kotek, a finalist in the Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources, will travel to Perth for the awards on September 24.
Image: Rebecca Ritchie
"It was an honour to be nominated and then to be selected as a finalist is quite an exceptional thing," Ms Ritchie said.
"All of those ladies [fellow category finalists] are doing some fantastic stuff."
Ms Ritchie said she was one of about 50 women working in a team of 2000 at her previous job, and said she faced some resistance working in the male-dominated resources field early in her career.
"There was initially some resistance, not just because I'm female, but because of the environmental field I'm in. I was asking the workers to do things like clean up an oil spill, which early in my career wasn't something they got asked to do a lot," she said.
Ms Kotek said she was honoured to be nominated.
"I do think it's very important to promote opportunities that are available for women in all resources areas," she said.
"I don't think women are aware of all the things we can do. Women can drive trucks, work machinery and monitor equipment. We can do it all."
Image: Jennifer Kotek
Ms Ritchie said she had worked quite hard to mentor fellow female employees, and said she would like to see employers make it more attractive for women to enter the resources industry.
She said social media campaigns such as "I am a scientist" promoted gender diversity in the industry, but there was more still to be done.
"I'd like to see family-friendly rosters, and have girls be encouraged to take up science and engineering," she said.