President of Women In Mining in Nigeria, WIMIN, Hon. Engr. Janet Adeyemi has said that so far many countries have taken over the fight for gender equality in the mining sector to protect the human rights of women.
Janet, while speaking at the Research Validation and Policy Dialogue held in Bauchi yesterday, said that many countries have ensured that their policies reflect gender as nobody wants to be reckoned with a society that has no respect or concern at the least, for its women and children.
According to her the Research Validation and Policy Dialogue is part of WIMIN’s programme to Safeguard the Rights of Women and Children in the Mining Sector in Nigeria supported by the Open Society Foundation (OSF) and in partnership with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
She explained that a few months ago, WIMIN sent its Research Team ahead of the programme, to conduct in-depth research on the extent of Women and Child Rights Violations in the Mining Sector in Bauchi State.
“This programme to validate the Research conducted in Bauchi State will open our perspective to the human rights issues in the local mining host communities here in Bauchi like the Gwana Mining Community, Toro and other places we have in our spotlight.”
“As we discuss policy matters with stakeholders, we want to challenge the state government, especially the State Ministry of Natural Resources which has just recently been approved to function as an independent ministry away from the Ministry of Agriculture to direct its attention on the gender-based issues in the mining sector in Bauchi and I believe this is one of their mandates as a Ministry,” Janet said.
She added that “It is my belief that in this global journey to progress, no one wants to be tied down or dragged behind by culture or sentiment, and that is the attitude I expect of the Policy Dialogue we shall hold in this programme.”
She said that Women In Mining In Nigeria started in Plateau state in the year 2003 when she visited a mining site in her capacity as a member of the Federal House of Representatives saying, “When I saw the unbearable working conditions our women and children were subjected to, at mining sites, it dawned on me at that instance, that some of us who are ahead in terms of voice, influence and track record in the sector have to rise to lift our fellow women who have become victims in the hands of narrow-minded people in the position of influence.”
Janet Adeyemi who is also a Founder of the group added that “These women have been hamstrung by systemic indoctrination that they have no place in the mining sector. In 2006, we started the Association of Women Miners and like a group of motivated friends, we commenced radical advocacy all across the country without any support because our ideas to introduce equality of women in the mining sector sounded like a good joke to laugh at.”
She added that “We adopted the name Women In Mining when we met with our international colleagues who are advancing the same cause we have started locally in Nigeria. So we integrated with them and today, we have Women In Mining UK, Women In Mining Australia, Women In Mining Ghana, Women In Mining Nigeria, Women In Mining West Africa and International Women In Mining among many others.”
According to her, Women In Mining Nigeria has grown into a nationwide organization of more than 5,000 passionate members spread across 23 states and all geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
“We have women who are seasoned Engineers, Lawyers, Mining Operators, Mining Experts, Geologists, ASM Miners, Wives of Miners, Women living in mining host communities and Male Advocates (whom we call the He 4 She Advocates) all committed to the mission which was inspired by a cause to eliminate gender bias in the mining sector. It is my joy to see how Bauchi State women and stakeholders have converged today to discuss the issues involving our women and children,” She added.
She pointed out that WIMIN has mapped out three states for the crucial programme and Bauchi state on its merit, made it to the list assuring that Women in Mining will continue to promote the inclusion of all even in the emerging transformational developments such as energy transformation, digitalization, artificial intelligence etc.