Women miners in Ghana are seeking a 30% allocation of viable mining concessions. The Artisanal Small-Scale Women in Mining (ASWiM), the women’s wing of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners made the call.
The Association, with about 5,000 members across the 10 mining districts, was formed last year to champion the interest of women in the artisanal small-scale mining sector and empower women, especially the vulnerable women on the mine sites to be financially independent.
Madam Victoria Adobea Guerrieri, the National Coordinator of ASMiM, made the call and appealed to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) and the Agricultural Development Bank Bank (ADB) to set aside a percentage of a proposed loan facility for artisanal small-scale miners for women miners.
She said the allocation could be done through individuals or group cooperatives. She further added that the lands should be geologically investigated and proven to be economically viable for mining before allocation.
“We want the government to support ASWiM to undertake outreaches for women empowerment and financial emancipation. Support ASWiM for training programmes on mercury handling, health and safety, site management, financial management, leadership and training for alternative livelihood,” Madam Guerrieri stated.
The Association also asked the government, through the Lands Ministry, to support women miners with equipment and loans through the banks to facilitate their work. This support, Madam Guerrieri said, was in tandem with the African Mining Vision that called for the integration of gender equality in mining policies, laws, regulations, standards and codes.
The Association said the needs of women in mining and females’ participation in the gold value chain had been neglected due to societal barriers, including cultural and financial factors as well as gender stereotyping.
To advance gender equality in artisanal mining, the ASWiM National Coordinator said key governance issues about the effectiveness of policy and legal instruments must be paramount. She mentioned land rights, representation of women in decision-making and a conducive environment for women’s participation as key governance issues.