Women miners cry foul

WOMEN in mining have expressed concern over Government’s failure to set up supporting structures for their operations saying the gap has left them vulnerable to unfair treatment and victimisation by bigger players.

Representation in Parliament and other Government offices would allow women to get adequate assistance, they said.

Speaking on the sidelines of a media workshop on investigating the extractive industry organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism in Zimbabwe (CIJZ) and the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, held in Harare last week, Zimbabwe Women in Mining and Mines Development Trust chairperson, Ms Blessing Hungwe, said:

“There is no structure, there is nothing. That’s where I want to try and be a voice but there is no way you can help others without proper structures. There is nothing nationally for women in mining.

“There is nothing in the Ministry of Mines and there is nothing in Women Affairs holding”.

Ms Hungwe appealed to Government to give them a quota in the mining industry to cater for their interests.

“We have tried to penetrate through Zimbabwe Mining Federation, we have no voice in Parliament, there is no quota for women in mining and you see we are just ending at a certain level,” she said.

“We want Government to give us an opportunity to put structures for women in mining, to give a quota for women miners so that there is development in the mining sector.”

Ms Hungwe said women in mining were facing a number of challenges among them fights over mining claims mostly instigated by male counterparts as well as victimisation, which see them giving up at times.

“There are so many challenges faced by women miners in the country but they are not really coming out. Women miners are faced with a plethora of challenges among them fights for mining claims but no one is pressing for them up there. A lot of women are being victimised in different ways,” she said.

Ms Hungwe said the ban on riverbed mining by the Government had seriously affected women who were surviving on the trade all their lives.

“But at the end of the day things change and nobody looks at these women, they have been surviving on this for the past 15 to 20 years. “Nobody is saying no in Government or Parliament, these licences must be given to the women and most of the times they go with their children and help their mothers to wash that gold,” she said. - Chronicle