Women in mining must not be overawed by men – Kweba
Women in mining must not be intimidated by men in the mining sector, President of African Women in Mining Association (AWIM) Melody Kweba told The Villager.
Kweba said that the number of women in this male-dominated sector has been deteriorating due to challenges experienced in the sector.
“The fact that we are women does not mean that we cannot be part of the mining sector. I have faced many challenges as a woman in mining, but I kept on fighting. I knew that the male counterparts would only notice me once I keep fighting for what I wanted and I am a winner not only for me but for all the women that are already in the mining sector and the ones that plan to join the mining sector,” Kweba said.
She added that that the biggest challenge women in parliament face is the fact that male counterparts still have a mind that a woman belongs in the kitchen and are not meant for any working man do.
Kweba further explained that she is aware of some women that have been granted mining licenses but due to lack of funds have not started mining as mining requires special equipment that is very expensive.
“By now we could have seen many women in the mining sector, but they quit because of funding for their mining projects. Projects must be funded so that women can start mining so that women can be empowered to do business like any other man that is in the mining sector,” she said.
She added that women also need training once they are granted licenses to make use of the opportunity. This will encourage women that are not yet in mining to join the sector, and AWIMA aims to provide a forum for support and guidance for personal growth, leadership and career development for women by building relationships within the mining industry.
According to Kweba one of the main objectives of AWIM is to campaign that women join the mining sector without fear as the only male have been benefiting from the mining sector in Africa in the past, and the issue of transparent exploitation of mineral resources hinges on governance and accountability by both the government and Chamber members
However, reiterated that most African countries have succeeded in providing a platform for the establishment of National Chambers of Mines and these Chambers the collective interest of companies involved in mineral exploration.
At the regional level, Africa is also witnessing the growing strength of regional structures such as the Chambers of Mines in SADC under the umbrella of the Mining Industry Association of Southern Africa (MIASA), and MIASA is increasingly being recognised as a major lobbying and advocacy organisation of the mining industry in the SADC region.