The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, in ensuring that all services, opportunities and establishments in the mining sector are open and available to women, is poised to strengthen its policy and legal framework to encourage more women participation in the industry.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite disclosed this in his keynote address during the 2022 International Women’s Day Symposium and the launch of ‘Girls for Mining’ (G4M) by the Women in Mining Nigeria, in Abuja on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Adegbite, who was represented by Dr. Vivian Okono, a director in the ministry, stated that the ministry is committed to structuring a healthy industry that will help strengthen the voice of women and reduce gender inequality, noting that reduction of gender equality would prevent violence against women and girls, breed a safer and healthier society as well as an essential ingredient for economic growth.
The minister disclosed that despite the challenges faced by women in the male-dominated industry and the limited number of women in artisanal and small-scale mining, Nigerian women he said, are stepping out of the stereotype to attain better gender balance in the sector.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, noted that the launch of the ‘Girls for Mining’ (G4M) initiative by Women in Mining Nigeria, will ensure sustainability in the industry. “This initiative will get the young girls in our secondary schools interested in mining,” he said.
He urged young girls to join the mining club in their schools. “The future of the world is based on mining, as the key driver of every economy”. He enjoined the girls to take interest in studying courses related to mining for the development of the sector. He also tasked women in the industry to upscale themselves to meet up with the men, to unlock the great potentials that abound in the sector.
Ogah, who unveiled the G4M Logo, congratulated Women in Mining Nigeria for the launch and assured of the ministry’s support to address the bias of women inequality in the sector for the growth of the industry.
Earlier, the president of Women in Mining Nigeria, Engr. Janet Adeyemi, stated the uniqueness of this year’s International Day of Women as it witnessed the birth of the Girls for Mining (G4M) initiative. She explained that the club will embrace young girls in secondary and tertiary institutions and bring them into close interaction with women in mining for mentorship towards a career in mining for young girls.
A statement by the ministry’s director of press and public relations, signed by Tine-Iulun M.A, said Adeyemi noted that the G4M Club will help stimulate the girls’ interest and create a pipeline of knowledge and opportunities for them as well as supply more females into the mining sector and significantly upscale the 6.8 per cent of female miners among the myriads of men in the sector.
The director, artisanal and small-scale mining department of the ministry, while disclosing that Women in Mining has become a strong voice since its inauguration, noted that the launch of the G4M would sensitise the girl-child towards having technical proficiencies needed in the field of mining. He called on women in the industry to stop crying and rise to take their positions in the scheme of affairs.