Women in Mining-Ghana advised to encourage girls to pursue courses in STEM

Accra, Jan. 28, GNA – The Women in Mining - Ghana (WIM-Ghana), a non-governmental organization has held its 4th Annual General Meeting with call on them to step up the campaign to encourage girls to pursue courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Madam Shirley Kyei, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission who made the call said that would pave way for the girls to venture into mining and related technical fields.

The meeting, which was held in Accra was on the theme: “Women in Mining: A Strategic Approach to Leadership and Visibility,” and was sponsored by Gold Fields, ASANKO Gold Mine, Newmont Ghana and G’Annies Media Communication.

Madam Kyei said although governments across the world had implemented a range of innovations to advance women in leadership, significant gaps remained, and that women still lagged behind men in access to decision-making and leadership positions in public and economic life, from local communities to global levels.

“Also, it is unacceptable that in countries where women have assumed top level positions, there are gender pay gap inequalities which ultimately lead to discrimination in the place,” she stated.

She noted that those dynamics also pertainee in the mining sector, which was not only faced with the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership, but their participation in the entire sector.

“The sector’s 2020 labour data for producing large-scale companies recorded a total labour of 31,609, with males being 28,715 and females 2,894 representing 91 per cent and nine per cent respectively. Further analysis of these figures depict a bleak picture as mining companies have a lower-than-average percentage of women at junior levels thus creating an even more unbalanced ratio at senior levels.

Madam Kyei said consequently, the Commission, as the regulator of the sector, has recognized this challenge and was eager to address it, adding; “As they say, charity begins at home, thus your advocacy contributed to the establishment of the Commission’s gender desk in 2019.

“Also, the government through the President appointed a woman to serve as Board Chairperson of the Minerals Commission. Through her leadership, the management of the Commission has initiated measures to further train and equip staff to deliver on its’ mandate.

She said by this initiative, more women in the technical areas would have the opportunity to be trained and elevated to managerial levels, and again, with the appointment of the first female Deputy Chief Executive Officer (a position that has never been held by a woman), the Commission was leading the way in advancing women leadership in the mining industry.

Madam Kyei said the Minerals and Mining (Local Content and Local Participation) regulations, 2020 L.I. 2431 sets out provisions that would help to enhance women participation in the mining sector.

“I will admit that these new positions and L.I. have not yet made that impact but I believe, the much needed meaningful change could be achieved by close collaboration between women in mining and minerals Commission. Let me assure you that our doors are widely open for this,” she said.

She added; “I believe with the push that led to the establishment of the gender desk that supports the agenda of women in mining, more could be done to enhance women representation and participation in the industry.”

Madam Bashiratu Kamal, the Chairperson for the AGM in a welcome address said according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), mining remained one of the most dangerous occupations in the world with death recorded each second.

“This has been evident especially the informal sector where regulating of the sector has been difficult and uncoordinated. The sector is bedeviled with the existence of indecent employment with the absence of social protection, social dialogue, and the creation of jobs that are actually decent,” she said.

Madam Kamal said with women as the most affected due to their reproductive and biological roles in this regard, it was important for organisations like WIM-Ghana to exist to champion, facilitate and advocate better legal frameworks, policies, systems and structures to protect, promote and guarantee the right s of women.

“This will lead to the advancement of women’s economic emancipation and transformation at the communities at local, sub-regional and Global levels as is the vision of WIM-Ghana,” she stated.

In its activities for this year presented by Madam Saviour Morkley, the WIM aims at pursuing research project of women in the mining sector to ascertain numbers and confirm actual status of gender mapping.

Others are to campaign for a gender proactive mining policy, women in mining mentoring project – Junior High School level to college, artisanal as well as professional women in mining, setting up of WIM training centre in mining communities; skills training projects; technical skills (truck, haul truck driving), metal works, among others.

The rest are basic business and entrepreneurship training, marketing, customers service while undertaking value addition projects – gold buying centre, small refineries for gold for the local market, jewellery making, setting up of a sustainable responsible model gold ore and clay mine, model quarry and the rest.