HISTORICALLY, gender imbalance got deep and has adversely affected the labor market today, though a lot is being done to correct this.
In the race, women were not considered for some positions, but largely stereotyped as incapable of performing some roles. Mining sector in particular for decades has been a male dominated industry. However, a shift is in place and many are realizing this.
Due to global advocacy movements, gender parity and women empowerment is now firmly a strategic agenda item for businesses, government, community organizations and multilateral institutions. No wonder President Samia Suluhu Hassan, yesterday met the womenfolk in Dodoma, encouraging them that they are still a force to reckon with.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has 17 development goals and 169 targets with 247 indicators to measure the progress towards achieving agenda 2030, in which Goal 5 envisions ‘achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.”
In summation: without the equal inclusion of half of the world’s talent, it will be difficult to grow economies for greater shared prosperity or achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, the push for gender parity and inclusivity in the mining industry was inevitable.
Although the ratio of women in the mining sector is nowhere near where it should be, companies around the world are striving to undo this legacy. There are now more women making waves in the industry.
Waves which are evident at Anglo Gold Ashanti – Geita Gold Mining Limited, and in particular the Open Pit Mining Department at Geita Gold Mining Limited, where we have Dynes Banney, Mary Muna and Lydia Deus; amongst 11 women in the department of just over 300 employees. These three women have worked for the company for more than 10 years.
They reveal that the secret behind their longevity at GGML is ‘self-belief.’ For instance Ms Banney, who is a Rompad Supervisor at GGML with 16 years of experience, as a mining employee believes that both men and women are born equal, saying: “Gender roles should not define the abilities of a person. There’s no such thing as women’s work or men’s work. “History may have been unkind, but the possibilities are endless. There is not any task at the mine a woman cannot do. I am a mother and a leader at work. Striking a balance and taking responsibility is a key thing in my life.”
She further urges women to believe in themselves more to unleash their potential. “If you don’t believe in yourself, then it’s going to be nearly impossible to make others believe in you too,” she concludes. On the side of Ms Muna, who collects data in the Open Pit Mining Department.
“Working in the mining industry for 13 years has built my confidence. Being part and parcel of a male dominated field is challenging sometimes. We have opportunities to learn every day, to become better. These opportunities are for all and are not based on gender. I started off as a dump truck operator whereas I am now capturing data. It’s growth for me,” she said.
For Ms Deus, who works as a dispatcher at GGML looks at the glass half full. She states: “Women are making significant impact in fields they were previously restricted to participate in.” She being a long serving employee at GGML proves a woman can work in a male dominated field as long as they meet personal and company goals.
Earlier this year, AngloGold Ashanti – Geita Gold Mining Limited participated as a partner in the first season of Mwananchi Communications Limited’s Rising Woman Initiative, a platform to empower women in the workplace in commemoration of International Women’s Day on 8th March and in support of women’s historical month centered on the Choose to Challenge campaign.
“Not only was this in support of a great cause but also in acknowledgement and recognition that gender empowerment is strongly emphasized from our Company core values, to policies and even work procedures,” further said the dispatcher at GGML.
However, the Company continues to demonstrate its role as a leader in responsible mining and an equal opportunity employer actively investing in initiatives that promote women at the workplace. One of these initiatives by GGML is sponsoring its female employees to participate in the Female Future Program, which prepares them to take up leadership roles within and outside the Company.
GGML emerged as the first runners up and best employer of the year in 2018 and 2019 respectively, under the Association of Tanzania (ATE) annual employers’ awards.