“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we recognize the contribution of women in Rwanda’s dynamic mining sector. We also challenge our partners to join hands and remove gender-based obstacles and provide equal opportunities to women in mining.” Read the message of the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board on International Women’s Day 2021.
The participation of women in the mining sector is still at a low level compared to other sectors in the country.
Lack of education, especially at higher levels in the sciences, social norms against women, home care work, among others have been cited as some of the major challenges barring women from participating in the mining sector.
In his message addressed to all stakeholders in the mining sector on International Mining Day, Hon. Francis Gatare, CEO of RMB called upon players in the sector to provide equal opportunities for women in mining.
In 2020, Pact's Rwanda office hosted a panel discussion and networking lunch for International Women’s Day 2020 to celebrate women's achievements in the country’s mining sector while also exploring how greater equality can be achieved.
To end the discussion, panelists were asked to name one thing each of the attendents could do in their daily lives to promote and ensure gender equality in mining. They answered:
1. Remove obstacles — that prevent women from entering the mining sector in the first place as well as from gaining positions at all levels, from the mine site to managerial and board level and in related input and output sectors such as investment, trading, equipment and services. This includes applying gender equity principles through positive discrimination and promoting opportunities for women.
2. Research — to identify what the underlying barriers are that prevent many women from entering and progressing in Rwanda’s mining sector to work at all levels and to find initiatives that can improve the gender balance. Compared to other countries, where there are women in mining, what is preventing more women in mining in Rwanda?
3. Sensitization — in all of our daily lives and work to bring the issue to the front of the agenda, incorporate solutions within different initiatives and programs, even if they do not have a mining focus, and advocate for women in mining to show that they are able to and should be working in the sector at all levels.