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By: Nghiinomenwa Erastus

From 2015 to 2018 the mineral sector projects employment data exhibit a strong gender bias in the distribution of risks and benefits, revealed the Southern Africa Resource Watch.

Employment data show that of the total mineral sector permanent employment only 20,9% were females in 2015 to 2016, 17,4% in 2016 to 2017, and 16,7% in 2017 to 2018 review periods%.

From 2015 to 2016, the sector employed 6 066 men and 1 602 women; between 2016 to 2017 the sector had 7 743 and 1 633 females, while between 2017/18 the sector had 8 477 males and 1 700 female workers.

The Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) indicated in their Resource Insight, titled The Mineral Sector of Namibia, Issue No 20 released on January 2021,

“Along the entire mineral value chain, benefits accrue mostly to men, in the form of employment and remuneration,” wrote the SARW researchers.

Yet the cost (such as family or social disruption and environmental impact of the sector industries operations) is borne mostly by women (United Nations Women (2016).

Currently, there are 25 mines that are members of the Chamber of Mines, with four of them under maintenance care, according to the chamber 2020 review.

These mines paid N$6,06 billion in wages last year, to its 14 591 employees- direct employment consisted of 8,361 permanent employees, 902 temporary employees, and 5,172 contractors.

“The Namibian mineral sector exhibits a huge gender disparity in terms of employment,” the report revealed.

The researchers highlighted that the disparity is exhibited at all levels of employment in the sector.

The sector employed 37 people at the executive level during 2015 to 2016 period of whom one was a female.

In the 2016 to 2017 review period, the sector had 40 executives of whom four were females, representing 10% of the total executives in the sector.

During the 2017 to 2018 review period, the sector had 38 executives of whom only two were females.

At senior managerial level, the mineral sector employed a total of 123 people of whom only 26% were females during 2015 to 2016 review period.

While 160 people were employed at senior level in 2016 to 2017, of whom 23,1% were females; and 151 people during 2017 to 2018 of whom only 25,2% were females.

Middle management level shows exactly the same trend.

During the 2015-2016 review period, the sector employed 581 middle managers, and only 28,6% (166) were females.

Between 2016-2017 review period, the sector employed 676 middle managers of whom 195 were females: and during the 2017-2018 review period, the sector

had 713 middle managers of whom females constituted 28,3% (2021).

The report has also highlighted that there been a steady increase in the number of skilled

people employed by the mineral sector in Namibia, females are still under-represented.

In the review period 2015-2016, the sector employed a total of 1 095 people with

specialised skills and with supervisory roles.

Females only constituted 30 of the total in 2015-2016.

In 2016-2017, the sector had 1 241people with specialised skills and supervisory roles with 324 being women and during 2017-2018, the sector had 1 391 people and females constituted 25,4%.

The same trend is exhibited at skilled labour level where in the 2015 to 2016 review period the sector employed 2 283 people of whom 550 were females; in 2016 to 2017, the sector had 2 524 of whom 454 were females.

In 2017 to 2018, the sector had 2 448 skilled people of whom 439 were females.

The Chamber of Mines has responded to the report findings and has addressed other issues highlighted by the report but not the gender disparity.


Julia Heita

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