In the petition, women raise their concerns over a cocktail of challenges that are hindering the realisation of decent work for women in the mining sector.
“We are deeply concerned that, the challenge of machete gangs is also discouraging and hindering our full participation in the sector. As ASM workers, our experiences within the sector are gendered: cultural beliefs around women, as well as gendered constraints to access and control over resources, concentrate us women in lower-paid and often more hazardous tasks in the sector – which itself may constitute a form of socio-economic violence.”
“We play significant roles as women in mining, but we remain largely invisible in the data on ASM. Case studies show that, we make up significant portions of the ASM workforce and suffer from specific forms of workplace discrimination. Adverse side effects of mercury use, unequal pay for similar work, sexual harassment, and limited access to land or mining titles are some of the ways in which our decent work outcomes are hampered,” read the petition
The women are calling for action that goes in line with Sustainable Goal 8 which seeks to “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”
“To achieve decent work and reduce poverty both in the immediate and in the longer term, our government and development partners need to tackle the root causes – and not just the negative manifestations – of informality and informatization,” continued the petition.
“Measures to improve the work environment, tackle gendered violence, labour rights, enhance social protection, invest in knowledge and skills of ASM players especially women or provide micro-entrepreneurs with access to credit and other support services are all critical in dealing with the manifestations of informality.”
Furthermore, the women are calling for the formalisation of the sector, saying their participation in ASM will largely contribute to the economy
“We, the women in Artisanal and Small-scale mining (ASM) are operating as informal economy players in a sector which cannot be termed “decent” compared to recognized, protected, secure, formal employment,”
“We are aware of the ability of ASM to offer income, propel economic growth, and create employment despite its high degree of informality. This alone shows its remarkable potential. If properly formalized it can result in more productive while creating decent work opportunities for women who are key actors in the sector.”