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Women miners decry gender disparity in sector

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By Abraham Adekunle

The organizations goal is to seek to end gender violence in the industry.

One of the core tenets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is gender equality. In seeking to achieve this, the international body seeks to end every form of gender disparity in education, corporate bodies, fundamental human rights, and more. The agency also frowns upon gender-based violence against women as well as harmful practices targeted at them, such as female genital mutilation. It is safe to say that much has been achieved since the first wave of clamour for women’s rights to vote.

However, it is not surprising that there is still little achievement in the mining sector. The mining sector is a male-dominated industry largely due to the nature of the operations in the sector. But technology has improved these operations and women now have the chance to do what their male peers are doing. Yet, there is still much to be done in the industry. For instance, the male-to-female ratio in this field is much wider than other sectors.

Only six percent of mining personnel are women.

According to the Women in Mining in Nigeria (WIMIN), lack of access to land and finance had limited women’s participation in the field to just six percent. Compared to other sectors, this is too little. So, the organization has called for more participation of women in the sector. The organization also called for deliberate measures to check gender-based violence and child abuse in the mining sector. The organization held a national summit in Abuja with the theme, “Safeguarding the Rights of Women and Children in the Solid Mineral Sector.”

At the summit, the president of WIMIN, Engr. Janet Adeyemi, said that the Nigerian mining industry remains significantly male-dominated and this is posing serious challenges for women who wished to engage in the industry. The women’s group also declared their commitment to ensure that the mining space in Nigeria is open and safe for all women, both professionals and artisans, who are pursuing a business career in mining. She noted further that the organization will stop at nothing to achieve their aims.

Some of WIMIN’s advocacy efforts in the country.

During her speech, the president listed other obstacles to women in mining to include lack of training and education, lack of success of mining licences, limited representation, displacement and loss of livelihoods, and emotional trauma, among others. She also revealed some of the agency’s activities. “Women in Mining in Nigeria extended our advocacy to Bauchi State,”. She said that they visited key actors in the solid mineral industry and organized a State Policy Dialogue, bringing together stakeholders to focus on strategic ways to end gender and child abuse in the sector.

She further revealed that in the presence of female miners in Bauchi, all state actors and stakeholders demonstrated their unwavering support and commitment to ending all forms of discrimination while strengthening their relationship with female miners. Engr. Adeyemi said that they had organized the female miners and inaugurated a fully functional state chapter of WIMIN in Bauchi State. This branch will champion the realization of the organization’s goals, which is a remarkable success for the organization in the state.

WIMIN engaged Kogi stakeholders on child abuse cases.

Engr. Adeyemi noted that the organization had engaged the Kogi State Ministry of Women Affairs on the protection and enforcement of children’s rights. However, she explained that limited resources hinder their ability to effectively investigate cases of child labour and abuse in mining sites across the state. Nevertheless, she said that they intend to escalate the issues of women and children’s rights violations in Kogi State to the national level. She said WIMIN will leverage partnerships with the National Human Rights Commission and the Solid Mineral Sector of Nigeria.

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