Key women involved in the mining sector from across West Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Ghana and Senegal) including mining practitioners, mining service industry representatives, educators, and senior government officials have met to discuss issues affecting women in mining. The Australian High Commission hosted the event to complement the ECOWAS Mining and Petroleum Forum and Exhibition (ECOMOF).
The event strengthened networks and connections of women involved in the mining sector and raised awareness of the crucial role women are playing and can play in the sector, as well as the issues and barriers to achieve greater inclusivity in the industry.
The Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Ms Natasha Stott Despoja contributed a statement which noted that globally, leaders have made commitments to gender equality through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.“The economic case for women’s participation is undeniable. The absence of women from the [mining] sector means reduced productivity and competitiveness, and lowers profits,” her statement said.
The discussion was moderated by ‘Women In Mining’ Coordinator, Georgette Barnes, and in summing up she said: “Young women need to be encouraged into technical and engineering subjects in higher education. Employers should also make space for women. The majority of artisanal gold mining is carried out by women, and they should take the next step to take out concessions and become entrepreneurs themselves. Ghana’s development of a Country Mining Vision provides a unique opportunity for women’s voices to be heard and incorporated into this umbrella policy and action document. We call on the Minerals Commission to establish a Women’s Desk to enhance information flows to women involved in the sector.”