Mrs Amina Tahiru, Coordinator of Women in Small Scale Miners, on Tuesday said there was the need to support women miners with some technical skills to encourage more women to go into small scale mining.
She said women in small scale mining needed to be taught about good practices in mining, safety in the use of chemicals, an understanding of mining profit and loss and environmental issues among others.
“We need a forum where useful information can be shared for the benefit of everyone, we are not in competition because everyone mines his or her own land, therefore exchange of information or knowledge that can be beneficial should be exchanged,” Mrs Tahiru said.
She called for this support when she shared her experiences at a workshop organized by the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to provide evidence-based policy recommendations that promote the economic empowerment of women through the creation of decent jobs for African women in mining.
The workshop brought together a wide range of stakeholders in the mining sector as part of a programme to implement a Gender and Mining in Africa project with the aim of strengthening the gender dimensions in the mining sector.
Mrs Tahiru said the women engaged in small scale mining faced more challenges than their male counterparts, since most communities in Ghana did not take women miners seriously.
She said mining was expensive and most women were not able to raise the finance required to start a mining business and they also had to maintain a balance between work and family.
“Women handle household finances on a daily basis and with support and guidance can also manage resources to succeed in mining, hence they should be given create opportunity to acquire concessions,” she said.
Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in a speech read on her behalf also said less attention was given to the few women in the mining sector and attributed that to the lack of adequate statistics and information.
She said the project, which intends to provide evidence-based policy recommendation to advance the economic empowerment through the mining sector, will go a long way to address the challenges faced by women especially small-scale miners.
The Economic Commission for Africa’s Gender and Mining in Africa project is undertaking a five-country research study in Africa. The countries are Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The project has identified a huge paucity of data on artisanal mining as some of it is secretive to avoid detection by governments.
It notes that women’s involvement in artisanal and small-scale mining is significant and varies within and between countries, with the women taking up roles in activities such as prospecting, exploration and actual mining as well as marketing.
The project will among other objectives examine a wide range of potential financing mechanism for small-scale mining operations in order to upscale them to commercial viability using a business model.