Skip to main content
Submitted by Web Master on 4 March 2024

As International Women’s Day draws near, the spotlight turns to the pivotal role of women within Tanzania's extractive industry. In a recent dialogue, stakeholders came together to acknowledge and celebrate the diverse contributions of women in this sector, recognizing their resilience in overcoming significant challenges. The conversation aimed to promote inclusivity and drive positive change within the extractive industry landscape.

According to a study presented at the People and Policies debate by the Foundation for ASM Development (FADev) on February 23, 2024, many small-scale miners, particularly women, face barriers due to inadequate education. This deficiency not only limits their opportunities for advancement but also hampers their ability to navigate the complexities of mining environments effectively.

Eng. Tina Mwasha highlighted that women in mining regions often endure physical and psychological mistreatment, with many feeling hesitant to seek assistance or report grievances. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a crucial role in disseminating education and fostering a supportive environment to address these challenges.

Despite the significant contribution of small-scale mining to the national economy, women in this sector still face disparities. Cultural beliefs, such as the notion that women bring ill fortune after mourning periods, result in women being sidelined from work, leading to income disruptions and hindering their progress.

Furthermore, women are underrepresented in the distribution of mining products, primarily due to a lack of scientific education which limits their access to job opportunities within the industry. This perpetuates gender inequalities and widens the gap between men and women in the sector.

The hazardous nature of mining activities pose additional risks for women, who sometimes engage in such activities even during pregnancy to earn income. The use of substances like mercury in mining processes can have detrimental effects on both the mother and child, highlighting the urgent need for safer working conditions and better regulations to protect women's health and well-being.

In conclusion, empowering women in Tanzania's extractive industry requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses systemic barriers, promotes education and training opportunities, challenges cultural stereotypes, and ensures the implementation of policies that prioritize the safety and inclusion of women in all aspects of the mining sector. By recognizing and supporting the vital role of women in this industry, Tanzania can unlock its full potential for sustainable development and economic growth.