Women in mining appeal to government for support
They also appealed to government to encourage women in small scale mining by allocating portions of available mining lands to them after announcing them.
Mrs. Victoria Adobea Guerrieri, National Women’s Coordinator for the Ghana Association of Small Scale Miners, said this in Accra at a dialogue meeting for ASMs and stakeholders in the sector, in Accra.
The meeting organized by Friends of the Nation, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with support from Oxfam and Ford Foundation was aimed at breaking the barriers to women mine ownership and corruption in the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining Sector.
Mrs Guerrieri said presently only 10 per cent of the 2,000 Small Scale Miners in Ghana are women due to the lack of access to lands and inadequate financial resources in acquiring a mining concession.
She said social and cultural barriers some of which included the notion that it was unacceptable for a woman to acquire a mining concession without the assistance of a man, had contributed immensely to the cheating and harassment of women on the field.
It is even considered a taboo for women to be on their mining sites during menstruation as they are considered unclean during that time, she said.
She said in some areas women faced discrimination, as they are asked to bring their husbands along before granted access to a mining site.
Mrs Guerrieri said on some occasions, men harassed women and forcefully took away their lands just because they were woman.
She appealed to chiefs and opinion leaders in the rural areas to protect and assist women in small scale mining to own concessions.
She further called on the Mineral Commission to review procedures for acquiring and renewing the license and environmental permit for small scale miners.
Mr Solomon Kusi Ampofo, Programmes Coordinator for Friends of the Nation, said the dialogue was organized to foster collaborations and working relationships between ASMs and stakeholders.
He said to address the communication gap in the small scale mining sector, the organization would move into the communities to sensitize the rural leaders to support women in small scale mining.
Mr Ampofo said men ought to encourage women to own more mining concessions rather than discouraging them.