Uzamere: Edo working to drive inclusion of women in mining, halt marginalization
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Uzamere: Edo working to drive inclusion of women in mining, halt marginalization

The Edo State Commissioner for Mining and Energy, Hon. Ethan Uzamere has disclosed that Edo State Government is working to halt the marginalization of women in the extractive industry particularly mining activities in the State inorder to increase women participation in the mining sector.

The Commissioner made the announcement at a workshop in Benin held by Women in Mining Nigeria (WIMIN). The workshop’s theme was “Mainstreaming Gender in The Solid Mineral Sector in Edo and Sponsored by Ford Foundation.”

Uzamere said that gender imbalance in the mining sector is an enabler for the exploitation of women with very few mitigating factors or policies put in place.

He said, “We are not oblivious of the fact that certain laws and cultural sensitivities preclude women from participating in mining.

“For example, section 56 of the Nigerian labour law does not permit women to engage in underground mining. That is why with the support of our legislators we can seek to affect the closure of the gender gap in education, work or labour.”

According to Uzamere, “another major factor limiting the participation of women in mining, thereby leaving them as mere artisanal miners only good for menial labour, is the lack of capital and disparity in pay.

“As a state, we have invested so much in technology and we encourage women especially to be the prime gainers.

“We acknowledge that with the effective deployment of technology, areas of mining hitherto seen as meant for men only will become areas open for women participation.”

In her address, Mrs Janet Adeyemi - the President of WIMIN - said despite the significant number of women involved in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASSM) in various capacities, a serious lack of recognition occurs in almost all spheres.

Mrs Adeyemi - represented by Mrs Tope Omage - listed the sectors that include development programmes, public and private sectors, mining communities and academia.

She said, “There is an invisibility problem whereby women’s contributions to the mining sector are masked by the dominant reflection of men’s roles in discussions of mining, thus erasing the participation of women.

“Unfortunately, one of the most important reasons why women have remained invisible is that research has historically focused, to a large extent, on digging practices.”

Mrs Omage pointed out that women in artisanal mining do some of the processing activities at home while attending to their children and domestic work, meaning that their involvement in mining sites is limited, contributing to their invisibility.

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