Africa’s mining sector is patriarchal: AWIMA

By Timo Shihepo

Windhoek- President of African Women in Mining Association (AWIMA) Melody Kweba has expressed disappointment with the African mining industry, which she says is discriminating against women.

Addressing the symposium of Chambers of Mines and Mining Associations in Africa held in Windhoek, Namibia, last week, Kweba said it’s a pity that patriarchy in African mining industry is well alive but nothing is being done.

She said women in mining are facing a number of challenges including; lack of training, lack of financing, acquiring licenses to concessions among others. She added that the system still finds ways of sidelining women with the required qualities or resources.  “It is tough for women to succeed in the mining industry which is a male-dominated industry. AWIMA has done a lot of work to empower women all around the continent and it’s time for everyone in the mining industry to accept women and not be afraid of their vulnerability,” she said.

Kweba added that about 70,000 jobs have been lost in the African mining industry and many of those affected are women. “It’s tough out there. There are some women I know who have mining licences but they are not mining because they are not given a chance. The system is not allowing them too. Women have become victims of a patriarchy system,” she further told The Southern Times.

Namibia’s chamber of mines and energy chief executive officer, Veston Malango agreed with Kweba that women are not given the same opportunities as men in the mining industry, but said Namibia is on course to change that. “It is true that the mining industry on the continent is struggling to meet gender equality. I would like to inform the people that AWIMA is already operational in Namibia and it has engaged already the chamber of mines and energy,” he said. Malango added that he was happy with the fact that women in Namibia’s mining sector are not entirely left out.

“We have women doing a fantastic job in the sector and it is also worth mentioning that our deputy minister of mines and energy (Kornelia Shilunga) is also a women. Women have a role to play and we must make sure that they are given equal opportunities as men in this industry,” he concluded.

October 2017
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