Mining sector should promote women participation

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BY JULIA NDLELA
THE Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) has called on stakeholders in the mining sector to create a conducive environment that promotes women’s participation in the extractive sector.

The call came amid heavy global lobbying for the inclusion of marginalised groups like women in critical economic activities like mining.

Speaking at a gender and extractives workshop in Mutoko yesterday, Zela programmes assistant Fadzai Midzi said women miners should be supported through policies that guarantee their safety in the male-dominated sector.

“The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill must ensure that it includes provisions that guarantee women participation in mining activities.   A safe and decent environment should be created for women to participate in the mining sector,” Midzi said.

“Before encouraging women to participate in mining, organisations must ensure that they put in place policies to protect women against sexual harassment as such things are prevalent in the mining sector.  We may encourage women to participate in mining, but once they get there they face a lot of difficulties and are sometimes sexually abused,” she said.

Women in Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) lawyer Fadzai Rusiwe raised concern over the displacement of Mutoko villagers without compensation to pave way for black granite mining activities.

“Most women in Mutoko rely on agriculture for income generation.  However, they have been displaced by mining activities in the area without compensation for the land lost. I also encourage women to get their own mine claims just like men because they have the same rights as men to access natural resources,” Rusiwe said.

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