Young women urged to contribute to Kenya’s growing mining sector

The Association of Women in Extractives and Energy in Kenya (AWEIK) has urged sector players to encourage the participation of women in the mining sector.

This was during a site visit to Kenya’s largest mine, Base Titanium in Kwale County to engage with women working within the mining industry.

The visit come at a time when there has been a push to have more women take up science courses and technical trades in a bid to boost gender inclusiveness in male dominated sectors.

The Mining sector in Kenya is in its nascent years but has shown potential to grow to become a key pillar for growth for the Kenyan Economy. The sector contributes only 0.8% to the Kenyan annual GDP but the ministry of petroleum and mining envisages a 5% contribution by 2025.

Speaking during the event the patron of AWEIK Ms. Betty Gikonyo said that, “the extractives sector is growing and this can provide women with opportunities to have a big impact in the sector. We need to ensure that women have access to financing to ensure business ownership. Women-led businesses can thrive in the extractives value chain. It has been proven that investing and working with women guarantees a return on investment, both at a domestic and a commercial level.”

Statistics show that men will apply for a job if they only meet only 60% of the qualifications but women will only apply when they meet 100% of the qualifications. The bravery deficit is evident in the number of girls in STEM programs, in board rooms, in the policy making space, behind the wheel of an excavator and generally along the extractives value chain.

According to a study conducted in May 2017 by Adam Smith International in collaboration with International Women in Mining, globally the direct participation of women in large scale mining activities along the value chain is less than 10%. Women in management and leadership positions are at a dismal 5% in mining companies in the world. These statistics are informed by stereotypes and the minimal formal training for women on specialized technical skills required by the sector.

However, Base Titanium the largest mining company in Kenya is setting the pace on gender inclusion in mining companies in Africa.

“Our Kwale Mineral Sands Project consists of a workforce that is 16% female while women in management positions stand at an impressive 30%. A record high globally which even the most advanced economies in the world have not been able to achieve. By investing and empowering women we empower a community.” Said Dr. Melba Kapesa Wasunna, External Affairs Manager at Base Titanium.

Melba added that there is not a better time for more young girls to leverage on the opportunities in the mining sector. The sector is still growing meaning there are immense opportunities available to secure employment. Unlike in the past when it was peculiar to see a lady in a male dominated field. The society we are in today is open to embracing women in all sectors of the economy as long as they have the skills.

Total inclusion and equity of women in the extractives sector is synonymous with enabling regulatory and policy frameworks and building a better future for communities living around mining projects.

The mining policy is hinged on ensuring that the Act and the regulations provide a gender-affable environment that ensures inclusivity of business and professional opportunities for women and men alike.

  

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