July 15, 2024

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Women graduates and Women Empowerment in Rwanda’s Mining Sector

Photo/RMB

By Ange de la Victoire Dusabemungu

In the past, women were very reluctant to be involved in jobs that need a lot of energy. As Rwandan society progresses, so do the jobs that are often considered to be men’s now turning to also be women’s jobs.

Focusing on women and mining is because this profession is one of the most demanding of the professions to the extent that some men are afraid of it.

Female students studying mining at the University of Rwanda, School of Mining and Geology believe that this profession is like any other because it is a law-abiding profession and is based on science and women also are involved in science.

Women students explained that “we must first understand that the mining industry in Rwanda was often in a chaotic state where traditional methods were prevalent and had a particularly detrimental effect on loss of productivity due to poor Mining practices”.

Speaking to TOP AFRICA NEWS, Amina Ijwi Rya Mana, a 4th year student at the University of Rwanda School of Mining and Geology, told this website that in general people should not look at women in the mirror of the past because so far most of the work a man does and a woman can do.

Amina Ijwiryimana, Student at UR School of Mining and Geology

Amina explained that one of the things one needs to know about mining is that the sector is in its development stage and practices are changing.

“I have studied science, and when I graduated from high school, the scores I got allowed me to study mining, it was something I used to feel I had to do well because this was a sector that was thriving when we were in high school,” she continued.

She emphasizes that she, as a woman, understands that the knowledge gained in school should be used to promote the profession.

“The goal is to help women to be involved in the mining industry professionally,” she said.

“As we all know, everything has its own set of principles, and for example, all works that touch the soil aspects need to follow science principles. So science has laws and principles. It’s good that someone who has gone to school and someone who has been working in mining for a long time irrespective professionalism, will join forces and exchange knowledge in order to increase productivity while at the same time helping those women and men to gain required skills that meet the needs of Mining today” Ms. Amina added

Statistics show that Women represent an estimated 8 to 17 percent of the global mining workforce.

In the U.S., 14.3% of people employed in mining in 2020 were women, only 0.3 percentage point higher than in 2015. About 47% of the overall U.S. workforce is female. Figures are similar in Australia, Canada and Europe, with little progress boosting female participation in recent years.

For Rwanda, 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.

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