Women in the mining sector have been asked to be bold enough and defy all odds to break the seemingly male dominance in the industry.
That is the advice from Juliet Ofeibea Manteaw-Kutin, Head of Legal Services and Corporate Affairs for AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana).
According to her, frantic efforts have already been made to create a more congenial atmosphere for women within the extractive industry, hence the need for them to lead the course in bridging the gender imbalance within the mining sector.
Speaking to Citi News on the sidelines of a panel discussion on the topic – mainstreaming gender in the mining value chain: opportunities and challenges as part of the 2019 Mining and Energy Conference organised under the theme, ‘Harnessing Mining and Energy potential to accelerate National Development’, she said women will be able to make strides in the sector if only they believe in themselves and rise to the occasion.
“Typically, women are not bold enough when opportunities come their way. Statistics have shown for example that a man will apply for a position if he thinks he qualifies for about 50 percent of the of the job description. But typically, a woman will wait till she qualifies 100 percent before she puts in an application. All I am saying is that, when you get the opportunity as a woman to take up any role, step up, take the position, say you can do it, and while you are at it, you figure out how you’re going to do it.”
Science education for women
Mrs. Manteaw-Kutin quickly added that the study of science should be demystified for women at the basic level as a way of making the subject more attractive to encourage more women to venture into applied science related areas such as mining.
“There isn’t much of impediment in terms of industry. I think it is more from the educational level. We are not getting enough women who are qualified technically to come into the industry itself . We should therefore encourage women to take up the sciences and visit the mines as part of the curriculum. Once we make this attractive and encourage our children to start pursuing these courses, we will get a lot more in the industry. Admittedly, the industry is doing a lot more to encourage women, we just don’t have enough women in that category to take on. “
Role of government
She also urged government to consider instituting policies rather than laws that will ensure that women become core element in the day to day administration at their workplaces.
“Government could do more in terms of more policy than laws. Because law enforcement is often quite difficult, but when you push it from a policy level, it’s more accepting to more people. The problem is not necessarily that the industry is not willing to take on women; but there aren’t enough women to be taken on. For most of the companies in the industry, and then AngloGold Ashanti, we give preference to women as much as we can, and we accommodate women as much as we can by giving them flexible hours. Women should step up anytime they are given the opportunity. They shouldn’t think they are not capable – we are capable. We can do it and a lot of people have done it before and you can also do it.”
By: Nii Larte Lartey|citinewsroom.com