Daisy Jeremani Gender Editor
Women have been called upon to take advantage of opportunities provided by the new constitution for them to fully participate in mainstream mining activities.
Speaking at a review workshop for women in mining at a local hotel on Friday, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Tecla Madziwa, said women were grossly under-represented in Zimbabwe’s mainstream mining.
“For instance 15 percent of the 50,000 artisanal gold miners in the small scale mining sector are women while 80 percent of the small-scale gold gemstone claims belongs to men,” she said.
Madziwa said 95 percent of the women in gold mining are in the small-scale sector while 55 percent of illegal gold panners were women.
“These disparities call for concerted efforts to be directed towards creating a conducive environment that encourages more women to venture into the mining sector,” she said.
It is in the same vein that her ministry has developed a broad-based women economic empowerment framework for women integration into the sector. Through it the ministry would identify investment opportunities in the sector that women can participate in.
“The ministry is also assisting women access investment opportunities availed by State Mineral Development Company as guided by the constitutional provision on 50:50, in the controlling, accessing and ownership of resources and investment opportunities,” Madziwa said.
Speaking at the same event, UNDP assistant resident representative Mfaro Moyo concurred with Madziwa saying women remain marginalised in many economic sectors including mining where they constitute a mere two percent of the mining labour.
“We are also aware that in the mining sector women face many challenges that militate against their getting a strong foothold in this sector,” he said.
He said UNDP believes investing in women is smart economics because empowerment of women leads to improved livelihoods for both them and their families.
Moyo said though their support may not always be in the form of direct provision of financial resources they recognise that mining was generally capital intensive and required significant investment.