Increase women participation in mining -Stakeholders demand

Stakeholders in a mining forum in Accra have made a strong business case for an increase in women’s participation in mining throughout the value chain.

A Senior Operations Officer with Infrastructure and Natural Resources Advisory Unit at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mr Budali Issahaku, said investors were increasingly getting concerned about gender and other social issues.

Consequently, he said, the IFC took into consideration the extent to which organisations were addressing gender equality issues when they applied for funding under its inclusive mining and benefit-sharing programme ongoing in four countries in communities hosting oil and gas and mining projects.

“Before we finance a mining project, you will have to go through our due diligence process which includes our environmental and social impact assessment.

We want to be sure that you have engaged everyone that matters and that other issues around community benefit agreement, you have a plan on that,” he stated at the workshop organised by the Women in Mining (WIM), Ghana, under the auspices of the Canadian High Commission in Ghana.

It was on the theme, “Ghana’s Mining Regulatory Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities for Enhancing Women’s Participation”.

According to him, increasing women’s participation in the mining industry contributed to social and economic empowerment of women, maximised benefits for local communities, promoted social equity, enhanced company profitability and maximised development impact.

He cited some entry points to increase women’s participation  which included the policy process, (make women visible in mining policies, local content and other related policies) and workforce policies (creating the ecosystem that makes it possible for women to work).

“Another important area for us is voice/leadership which involves increasing women membership on boards and getting more women into senior management positions. Evidence abound that where you have women lead in these companies, the storylines in terms of profitability and sustainability is different,” he indicated.

However, he said, that needed to be taken further to the community level, “how are we getting them in the whole discourse around mining and sharing of the benefits of mining?

On improving access to finance, he explained that the IFC’s approach had been building the capacity of women-owned small and medium enterprises to make them more bankable, among others and other initiatives.

Gender diversity in Asanko

A headcount of 386 staff showed 349 males (90.4 per cent) and 37 females (9.6 per cent)
A Senior VP, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Asanko Gold Mine, Mr Frederick Attakumah, said the company was committed to increasing gender diversity and inclusion at the various levels of the business: board level, management team and workforce.

He cited deliberate strategies being pursued, including targeting 70 per cent of national service positions for women (27 per cent achieved so far), prioritising female applicants for vacant roles, provision of site accommodation for all women on the mine and provision of site accommodation and meals for all nursing mothers and their nannies.

Mr Attakuma mentioned the male-dominated culture, general negative perceptions about the industry, unattractiveness of work locations and lack of female role models in the industry as some of the factors inhibiting gender diversity.

“To achieve gender diversity at the company level, there is the need for the adoption of a gender diversity targeting and monitoring approach towards employment (e.g 15 to 20 per cent female workforce within five years),” he stated.

He added that government should develop guidelines to enhance gender diversity in the mining industry and demand updates from the industry on steps being taken to increase gender diversity and inclusion.

Source: Graphic Business

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