The Golden Line (GL) Programme, which advocates the well-being of women working in and those living around mining communities, has added its voice to the call on the government to pass the affirmative action bill into law to ensure gender equality and leadership positions for women.
The programme has also called on the Ministry of Lands and Natural resources to have a policy in place stipulating that at least 30 per cent of mining concessions should go to women.
The Golden Line Programme made the call to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day which fell on March 8, 2020.
The programme aims to contribute to the economic and social empowerment of women in and around artisanal and small-scale gold mines.
According to Golden Line, “the world has achieved some progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Sustainable Development Goal five, but women and girls continue to suffer discrimination in every part of the world as compared to their male counterparts.
Therefore, “on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Golden Line is asking for attention for the situation of women working in gold mines and living in mining communities.”
In a statement issued to commemorate the day, it said Ghana was the largest producer of gold in Africa and that the role of women in artisanal and small-scale mining was significant as they represented up to half a million or 50 per cent of the workforce in these mines.
However, it said “women commonly get the low-paid and low-skilled jobs in the mines, face severe health risks and are exposed to gender-based violence”.
It identified cultural beliefs and gender-based discrimination as undermining the status of women as they faced barriers to access productive resources such as loans and land.
It added that women had limited access to education and information to be able to make informed decisions about their life and stand up for their rights.
“They have limited opportunities to engage in economic activities and decision-making power at all levels”, it added.
The statement said the Golden Line Programme advocates women to have their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) respected, have access and control over resources, have equal rights, and self-determination to make decisions about their life, work and health.
To give meaning to the IWD, the Golden Line commemorated the day with women in the Abreshia community in the Wassa Amenfi East Municipality in the Western Region to show the potential of women in mining communities.
The celebration was attended by women and men of Abreshia and surrounding communities and traditional leaders from Wassa Amenfi East who witnessed a photo exhibition of businesses established by women in the GL programme.
The five-year programme is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is implemented both in Ghana (in the Western and Ashanti regions) and Tanzania.
In Ghana, the Golden Line is a consortium that comprises Simavi, Solidaridad, Healthy Entrepreneurs, Hope for Future Generations and Presbyterian Relief Services and Development.