By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Mining is an important sector which supports the economy of any country that embraces it. It encourages entrepreneurship, improves employment opportunities and boosts the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
Minerals like, Bitumen, Coal, Limestone, Tin, Lead/zinc, Gold, and Baryte, Iron ore and others are available and are mined in Nigeria, engaging millions of people, directly and indirectly, creating wealth and stimulating economic growth but sadly, the mainstream miners in Nigeria has only 6.8% women, while the remaining 94% are men.
The few women in the sector are being edged out by many factors and the number will continue to dwindle if nothing is done to stop it.
To remedy the situation, Women in Mining on Friday, inaugurated the Girls for Mining, G4M clubs for secondary school girls in Plateau State to mentor the young girls to show interest and possibly pursue a career in the sector.
Addressing the students at the event in Jos, the National President of Women in Mining, Engr. Janet Adeyemi through the Secretary, of Women in Mining, Plateau State, Mrs. Raulatu Piwuna said, “… we are creating landmark history. When our generation is no more, the G4M will remain, and thousands of you school girls who have become accomplished and high-profile women in mining by then, will look back at the fond memory of today and proudly say, I was there…
“70-80 per cent of everything we use in our daily lives are products of mining, from the ceramic at your home to the gold and metals on your mobile phones, to the glass on your windscreen and bulbs, to even the stainless steel and alloy on your wristwatches and it goes.
“Nigeria is dependent on crude oil as its major source of wealth, however, the world does not want crude oil anymore. Now they want solar energy, hydropower and other sources of power that are not oil. We are witnessing the gradual passing away of the oil and gas sector in the globe and when it finally fades out, Nigeria will be left with only two means of wealth creation- Mining and Agriculture… “
She decried the gender gap in the sector, adding, “When I look at statistics, of all the mainstream miners in Nigeria today, only 6.8% are women, the remaining 94% are men. So, the women in the mining sector today are a drop out of the ocean, and the few women in the sector are being edged out of the game by gender-blind laws and by misogynists. So, the number of women in the sector will keep dropping. If we do nothing to pump female miners into the sector now, the women on the ground today will all be gone someday.
“The only way to meaningfully populate the mining sector with productive women is to begin to guide our girls from their school age, into a prosperous future in the mining sector… We unanimously accepted this sustainable initiative and resolved that G4M will be created in all states of Nigeria and Plateau is the very first state we are inaugurating this club.”
She explained, “All students in the G4M club will regularly participate in inter-school quizzes, and debates. Winners will be awarded in each competition. All students of the G4M will go for annual excursions to mining sites, tourist sites, natural resources regulatory agencies or other places of interest in line with the overall intent of the G4M.
“Each student of the G4M club will stand a chance to travel abroad for an exchange visit, to tour mine sites, meet fellow students abroad and meet with high-profile female miners for mentorship and opportunities. All students of the G4M club will have mentors who shall guide them through their secondary education. Any student of the G4M club who has decided to pursue a career in any mining-related courses will be assisted to secure admission to study that course at any tertiary institution of her choice in Nigeria.
“All students of the G4M club will have the opportunity to work with Women In Mining in Nigeria for a year Internship and Training… “
The State Commissioner of Secondary Education, Elizabeth Wapmuk represented by Assistant Director, of Science and Technology, Chung Sati lauded the initiative citing the vital role the mining sector plays in the development of the nation’s economy and assured the Ministry would work towards incorporating mining consciousness into the school curriculum and encouraged young girls to consider making a career in mining for the development of not just the State but the country.
Air Force Girls Military School, Jos; Federal Government College, Jos; COCIN Headquarters Church Secondary School, Jos; Government College, Jos; GSS, Chwel Nyap; Baptist High School, Jos; TCNN Staff School, Jos; Kings’ Secondary School; Jos; St. John’s College, Jos were among the participating schools.