By Stephen Chadenga
Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) director Wonder Phiri has said that the country’s thrust for economic recovery would be incomplete without the active role of women in the mining sector.
Speaking at the launch of a collaborative research done by CCMT and the Midlands State University (MSU) Gender Institute , on challenges, opportunities and experiences of women miners in Zvishavane district, Phiri said there was need for a deliberate move by all stakeholders to ensure more women claim a stake in mining.
“This research paper is being launched at a time when the country’s economic recovery is being anchored on the mining sector,”Phiri said.
“It cannot be business as usual without women involvement in mining. It (involvement) should go beyond selling trinkets at mining spots.”
Phiri said to curb conflict in the management of resources particularly in the mining there was need to urgently address gender disparities in the sector.
He said there was need for deliberate efforts by all stakeholders to address resource based conflicts as it (conflict) was counter productive.
“These research findings should be taken by stakeholders for the benefit of women in mining,”he said.
“From the research it came out that women in Zvishavane face huge social, cultural and economic hurdles in participating in mining. This research paper should enable us to dig deeper into the exclusion (of women) which continue to permeate the mining sector.”
In his remarks at the same symposium, MSU pro vice chancellor Kadmiel Wekwete, standing in for vice chancellor, Victor Muzvidziwa applauded the collaboration between CCMT and MSU saying the research if put into practice could empower women.
He said such studies could advance for advocacy, knowledge and policy reforms that support women participation in the minerals value chain.
“It is against this that we applaud what you are doing and it is in line with with sustainable development goal number five which seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls as well as promote a peaceful and inclusive society,”he said.
MSU Gender Institute executive director, Irene Muzvidziwa said the partnership with CCMT in the research was aimed at influencing policies that would address gender challenges in mining and other areas.
Economic experts argue women empowerment in key sectors of the economy is vital as they play a significant role not only in providing for the survival of their families but for the country’s development.
By Stephen Chadenga