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Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The President and Founder of Women in Mining in Nigeria (WIMIN), Hon. Janet Adeyemi, has disclosed that the fight for gender equality in the mining sector of the country is no more the women’s fight but a global battle of all.
She also lamented that gender inequality in the sector, pointing out that other developed nations have broken the barrier.
Adeyemi, who delivered the opening remarks at the Research Validation and Policy Dialogue at Amak Hotel Bauchi, yesterday, said that many countries have ensured that their policies reflected gender as nobody wants to be reckoned with a society that has no respect or concern at the least for its women and children.
She said: “It is my believe 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.”
According to her, the WIMIN 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.
“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 position of influence.
“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 a radical advocacy all across the country without any support because our ideas to introduce GENDER equality 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, WIMIN has grown into a nationwide organisation 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 that 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 explained that a few months ago, the WIMIN sent its research team ahead of the programme, to conduct an indepth research on the extent of Women and Child Rights Violation in the Mining Sector in Bauchi State.
According to her, “without a doubt, some of you here were interviewed both by our media crew and our researchers. 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 on our spotlight.
“As we discuss policy matters with stakeholders, we want to challenge the state government, especially the State Ministry of Natural Resources, who have 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.”