Strong Case Made For More Female Participation In The Extractive Sector
Available statistics indicate only 7 per cent of women are working in the mining industry, a trend described industry players as discouraging.
Women in Mining Ghana says although some progress has been made towards addressing the imbalance, there is more to be done.
Founder of Women in Mining Ghana, Georgette Barnes, contends mining cannot be said to be sustainable until more women enter the field.
She said the concept of sustainability is built on three pillars: social, economic and environmental sustainability.
“When we speak about women, we are critical to all three. Over the years, there has been some progress in addressing the imbalance but more needs to be done. We cannot be sustainable while ignoring one large important category of people,” she said.
Mining is often described as a man’s job because, for a long time, males dominate the field.
The long-held position took centre stage at the conference themed: "Women as Agent of Change in Organizational and Community Sustainability."
Mrs Barnes tells Luv Biz it is critical to close the big gap between females and their male counterparts in the mining sector.
“It is historical, there is a perception that mining is for men, so there is no reason women be made to work in the sector. This is not because the women cannot do the work; we believe they should be given the opportunities. Women in Mining Ghana would want to see a lot more women working in the mining industry,” she said.
According to her, there is economic statistics to show that it affects the bottom-line of companies positively when women are in the boardrooms.
"We have Gold, Diamond, Manganese, Bauxite and other precious metals. Ghana is 51 per cent women," she said.
Women in Mining Ghana seeks to be a national voice for all women, whilst exploring ways to help them stay much longer in the sector.
“There are complaints, because of the nature of the mines; some of them find it difficult with the work-life balance. So we want to explore ways of making women work and stay longer in the sector and also introducing the sector as a choice of employment for the youth," she said.
She spoke to Luv Biz at the Women in Mining Conference at Chirano Gold Mine site in the Western Region. The Women in Mining Conference brought together sister groups from other mining companies to discuss their future in the industry.
It was hosted by Chirano Gold Mines Women’s Club whose founder is Hilda Arhin.
She believes that women can be the agent of change within their respective companies and adjoining communities.
"That is why we decided to come together as women to share ideas and help our communities and ourselves. We tend to see ourselves moving up in the organizational ladder, so we believe that as we come together, we will come out of our comfort zones and will strive to take up challenging positions that will help us make meaningful impacts in this company”.
General Manager of Kinross Chirano Gold Mining Company, Adriano Sobreira, admonished the women not to feel inferior and threatened by the men.
“You should understand that you always must bring something to the table. You have special traits that make the world a better place It is young people like you that can make the change”.