By Edward Mukaro
THE Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) has implored the Government to deliberately ensure that women miners are capacitated, while also implementing policies that encourage women participation in the sector.
In Zimbabwe, the numbers of women miners compared to that of males is worrying, as women are discouraged from venturing into the sector as a result of multiple factors, some of which are just myths.
According to a recent presentation by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) at a meeting hosted by CCMT in the Midlands Province, recently, Districts, namely Chirumanzi, Gokwe and Gokwe South and Gweru, each has one registered woman miner, while Kwekwe district has 5 registered women miners from 500 miners.
However, Kwekwe has 6000 illegal miners, of which 1100 are women miners.
In an interview with The BusinessConnect newspaper, CCMT Research Advocacy Coordinator Shadreck Vengesai said,” Government must deliberately ensure that women miners have access to finance, markets and equipment. Government must also, combat workspace violence so that mining becomes a safe space for women.
“…Women are very much keen on venturing into mining, but there are barriers that inhibit them from fully participating in the industry. Policy is one of the barriers. The Government has not put in place deliberate policies that affirmatively discriminate against those women who want to venture into mining so that they can catch up with their fellow male counterparts. Access to finances, capital and markets are all policy issues that can be addressed at policy levels,” said Vengesai.
Issues to do with violence-related incidents in the sector have also impeded women participation in mining, hence, the call for firmer policies that seek to prevent violence tendencies amongst miners, especially amongst small scale miners.
Vengesai also added that there were other factors that were contributing to the limited number of women participation in the sector such as traditional and religious norms.
“Indeed, the statistics are worrying. Because of the violence and crime, such as machete wars that take place in the sector, it is considered to be an unsafe space for women. Cultural, tradition and religious norms that perpetuate stereotyping of women impedes women from participating.
“Combating workspace violence in the mining sector is also a policy issue. Deconstructing patriarchy is also a policy issue,” he added.
Government was also urged to combat
Bureaucracies or red tape relating to claim registration was also identified as impediments to women playing an active role, hence, removal of such restrictive measures will make it relatively easy for women miners to register their claims.
By Edward Mukaro