Tarkwa (W/R),- Friends of the Nation (FoN), a Non-Governmental Organization involved in socio-environmental advocacy, has projected to increase women participation in Small scale mining and owning concessions from 10 to 30 per cent.
According to the group “Women constitute about 40-45 per cent of the labour force in the value chain but unfortunately only 10 per cent own concessions”.
Mr Solomon Kusi Ampofo, Programmes Coordinator of FoN, revealed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) when FoN organised a stakeholder meeting in Tarkwa for fifty women in the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) sector.
The meeting was used to screen a video documentary and policy dialogue and some challenges women in the ASM industry encountered in their operations.
He said, “One of the purposes of this programme was to solicit for solutions on how to address the challenges we unearth through our research advocacy based on cultural, social and financial barriers that do not allow women to fully engage in the ASM sector”.
Topics discussed at the programme included; socio-economic and political barriers affecting women and their solutions as well as the government’s policy initiatives in promoting women’s involvement in the ASM sector.
“We need to take a critical look at the social and cultural limitations because from our discussions you could see that women who go through their monthly periods are not allowed to work at some mining sites because she could be considered as a bad omen. It is time to look at some of these issues and eliminate them because it is discriminatory and unfair to treat women in such a manner” the Programmes Coordinator lamented.
Mr Ampofo suggested that “At the policy level we should develop specific gender guidelines and disaggregated data, that will help us know those within the value chain, the estimated numbers, the important roles they play and how we can support them to deepen their meaningful contribution to the sector”.
He added that apart from showing this documentary in all mining communities across the country, FoN would try to provide financial and technical solutions to aid in resolving some of the problems women face.
Nana Nteboah Pra IV, Divisional Chief of Prestea-Himan, who chaired the function emphasised that although the mining industry is a male-dominated one, women should be encouraged to invest in areas such as supplying chemicals, hiring of trucks, sewing of uniforms, offering catering services among others.
He said some women were doing extremely well in the giant mining companies, hence women in the ASM sector should also nurture the young ones to develop an interest in the business.
Madam Janet Esi Kusi, Treasurer for Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Gold Miners, advised women to be firm in the business as institutions like Minerals Commission and Environmental Protection Agency would assist them to go about their work smoothly.
Madam Georgina Tawiah Addo, a beneficiary commended FoN and said they should frequently hold such programmes to help attract more women into the industry.
She pointed out that through the Small-Scale business has been able to take care of her child through tertiary education, adding that, “my son is now a chartered accountant”.
Source: Ghana News Agency