NGOs call for improved working conditions for women in mining sector
The Golden Line, an agglomeration of non-profit advocacy organisations dedicated to the socio-economic empowerment of women, has urged stakeholders within the mining sector to initiate interventions to address gender inequality within the sector.
It said even though the world and Ghana in particular had made significant progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5), women and girls continued to suffer discrimination in every part of Ghana, particularly in the mining sector and therefore urged industry players to put in place measures to address such inequalities.
It made the call in a statement issued on Sunday and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra in commemoration of the International Women’s Day.
The day is commemorated on March 8, annually to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while making a call to action for accelerating gender equality.
Ghana is the largest producer of gold in Africa and women play significant role in artisanal and small-scale mining , contributing up to half a million or 50 per cent of the total workforce in these mines.
Despite this, the organisation said women in the sector continued to face numerous challenges including low-paid and low-skilled jobs, severe health risks, gender-based violence, cultural and gender-based discrimination, among others.
“They face barriers to access productive resources, such as loans and land. They have limited access to education and information to be able to make informed decisions about their life and stand up for their rights.
“On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Golden Line is therefore asking for attention for the situation and plight of women working in the gold mines and living in mining communities,” it stated.
It also urged Government to fast track the passage of the affirmative action bill into law to facilitate efforts at achieving gender equality and to strengthen leadership position of women to enable them to contribute their quota towards economic development of the country.
“We also call on the Ministry of Lands and Natural resources to have a policy in place stipulating that at least 30 per cent of mining concessions go to women.
The organisation has since 2016 contributed immensely to the economic and social empowerment of women in and around artisanal and small-scale gold mines in Ghana and Africa through its Golden Line programme.
The five-year programme which is expected to end in 2020, was aimed at improving the working conditions and positions of women within the small-scale mining sector.
It also sought to establish close working relationship with mining communities to improve women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services and engage in economic activities to enhance their status and self determination to make decisions about their life, family and health.
Funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the programme is being implemented in the Western and Ashanti regions of Ghana and in Tanzania by the Golden Line Consortium comprising of Simavi, Solidaridad, Healthy Entrepreneurs, Hope for Future Generations and Presbyterian Relief Services and Development.