The World Bank has called on policymakers to address the distinct hazards women face to improve their occupational health and safety in mining environments.
In its 2023 State of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector report, launched at the annual Mining Indaba Conference in South Africa on Tuesday, the bank advocated for gender-responsive legislation to safeguard women’s rights in mining and build a more sustainable sector.
This included improving mining codes which often lacked provisions to enhance women’s participation and changing discriminatory property laws and land tenure agreements that hinder women’s ability to own land and access mineral resources for artisanal and small-scale mining.
It reviewed mining laws in 21 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and draws on primary data from 1,900 participants, contributing unique insights about the deep-seated barriers women face in fully participating in ASM activities and opportunities toward gender equality.
World Bank Global Director for Energy and Extractives, Demetrios Papathanasiou, said women in artisanal and small-scale mining faced formidable challenges that required urgent action to ensure they were safe and can thrive in the mine and at home.
“We are thrilled to release this ground-breaking report, which offers concrete solutions to create a more inclusive and equitable mining sector that benefits women and everyone,” Papathanasiou said.
The report was a collaboration with the international development organisation Pact.
It detailed gender inequalities in ASM and highlighted actions to improve gender equality and advance women’s participation.
World Bank Senior Mining Specialist and Co-Author of the report, Rachel Perks, pointed out that it was critical to create an environment in which women artisanal and small-scale miners could be heard and enjoy their rights without discrimination.
“Women’s empowerment and equal participation in mining are the right thing to do and will pave the way for a more just future and prosperous communities,” she said.
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