Women are failing to break into the lucrative mining sector, with figures showing that they constitute just 5 percent of small-scale miners in Zimbabwe.The chief executive officer of Gold Miners Association of Zimbabwe, Mr Irvin Chinyenze, noted with concern that women were not keen on mining because of the strenuous nature of the work.
“We have a membership of over 1 000 registered small-scale miners, and only 5 percent of those are women. Mining is one area where women have not fully exploited the opportunities that are there.
“While I am not privy to the exact reasons why they have not ventured into mining, I suspect the reason why they have not shown a keen interest in the sector is because it is labour intensive in the physical sense. Mining still remains an area largely dominated by men,” he said.
“From 2007 to about 2009, we had about 7 000 members of the association, and only about 200 were women. We sometimes hold awareness campaigns on the positive spin-offs of the sector, but they have not been many female takers,” he said.
But Zimbabwe Women in Mining co-president Ms Evelyn Musharu said the numbers were slowly picking up.
“There is now a good uptake and active participation of women in the mining sector. Women now make up 40 percent of the total population of the small-scale miners in Zimbabwe,” she said, though she could not provide specific figures.
She said her organisation was updating its membership database.
“We managed to work around some of the problems that were affecting women and I can safely say we are now on a better pedestal than before,” Ms Musharu said.