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Stop gender-based violence in the mining sector

By Shuvai Mutami

17 March 2022

Females in the mining sector in Zvishavane sometimes face challenges that affect their full participation in the sector.

Sexual violence against women at some mining sites are rampant. 

“A lot of women are discriminated against especially where extensive mining takes place,” once said Henrietta Rushwaya former…. (President of ZMF.2021)

“In some places where women have mining claims, they face verbal and sexual violence from their male counterparts such that women empowerment in this important economic sector becomes difficult to achieve.”

She said women played a vital part in the upliftment of the country’s economy but were lowly represented in mining with men dominating the sector.

“But all the same, as women, we cannot continue to be cry-babies and it is entirely up to us to claim a stake in the sector,” she said.

In 2021, while addressing the same symposium, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development Chairperson Edmond Mkaratigwa said women were marginalised and there was need for a holistic approach to end the disempowerment.

“Women are at the periphery of mining in Zimbabwe, and we must endeavour to change this,” he said.

He blamed patriarchy and defined gender roles as some of the reasons women continue to be disadvantaged in the mining sector.

Zvishavane Women Miners Association Chairlady Shuvai Mutami, has raised great concerns on the several challenges women and young miners are facing because of gender-based violence. She however appreciates organisations like ZELA through several projects like Women Can Do It (WCDI) which have managed to train women to stand up and raise alarm where their rights have been violated in their mining workplace.

Women in Local Government Forum Midlands chapter, President Idirashe Dongo concurred, saying the country is facing a crisis in terms of women representation.

A 2016-2019 Centre for Natural Resource Governance research revealed that women in mining were constant targets of domestic and sexual violence.

Experts argue that women empowerment is vital as women play a significant role in providing for their families. There is need for local government and other civil society to develop mechanisms to reduce gender-based violence in the sector.

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