The Minister of Minerals and Energy Lefoko Moagi has lamented on the continued low participation women in the mining industry. Officially opening the 2023 Women in Mining Pitso held at Majestic Five Hotel in Palapye last week he said it was worrisome that while Botswana is a signatory to Gender Equality protocols there is only a meager number of women in the mining sector. He however said although this was a global reality, the situation remained a serious concern.
“There are almost equal numbers of men and women in the world, with women representing 49.6 percent of the world’s population. And yet statistics show that women make up 8 – 17 percent of the mining industry. This means that less than a fifth of all people in the mining industry are female or an average of 12.5 percent,” he said.
He said according the International Labour Organization (ILO) it is notable that despite the steadfast growth of employed males, the percentage of females employed has barely changed. Moagi also said the (Price Waterhouse Coopers) PWC did a survey that shows that mining is the worst sector for gender diversity worse than the oil and gas industry with just five percent of board seats held by women in the top 500 mining companies.
“According to McKinsey & Company; in addition to low labour force participation, the drop off from entry level to executive for females in mining is among the most dramatic across all industries” female representation within mining company C- suites sits at 13 percent. Among S&P 500 companies, there are only 30 female CEOs and not one of them comes from mining,” said the minister.
Moagi said women are underrepresented at all levels within mining companies yet opportunities remain for the industry to boost female recruitment, retention and advancement.
He also said research shows that the top reasons why women leave the mining industry are feelings that work is no longer intellectually challenging and having the perception that there are fewer advancement opportunities than there are for their male counterparts. He also said research shows that interviews with leading women in mining suggests that they experience being sidelined, particularly in technical roles.
“What mining has achieved over three centuries is totally at variance with our Sustainable Development Goals 5; achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls,” he added.
On a positive note the Minister said the government through his ministry is working towards creating a sustainable gender balance in the mining sector and creating more opportunities for women in jobs that have been traditionally reserved for men. He also said in line with the Botswana agenda on empowerment of women the ministry has seen it fit to facilitate, nurture and sustain growth and development of the Women in Mining in Botswana so that their voice can be heard and their interests protected.
He however expressed concern that despite efforts to grow women participation in the mining sector through issuance of Prospecting Licenses, these are not bearing any fruit and thus constraining the growth of women and the economy through royalties derived from such mineral exploitation.
“I also wish to point out that the Botswana Minerals Policy was adopted by Parliament on 31st March 2022 to solidify Government’s commitment and plans to develop and manage minerals to the benefit of Batswana,” he said.
In addition to this and in order to modernize our Mineral Legislation and to align it to policy aspirations, the Diamond Cutting Act Amendment Bill and the Precious and Semi-Precious Stones (Protection) Amendment Bill were passed before Parliament on the 16th August 2021,” added Minister Moagi.
The Minister also said the amendment of the Mines and Minerals Act is also in progress as government positions itself to make Botswana a more conducive environment for mining whlist achieving its goal of being the mining destination or jurisdiction of choice.
The event was held under the theme “Empowerment of Women in Mining Towards sustainable development”.