Women in the Extractive industry have cried out over exclusion and neglect in the decision making process, with a call on government to to ensure gender equality.
This call was made recently at the 7th Sustainability in the Extractive Industry, SITEI, conference held in Abuja.
The two-day conference which saw the presence of dignitaries in and out of the country, revolved around deciphering causes of conflict in the said industry and finding ways to curb them.
During one of the four panel discussions on day two, Oge Modie, Chief of Staff to Minister of Petroleum Resources, expressed sadness at the way women in the Extractive industry have been conditioned to engage in certain roles that come with empathy, but when it comes to decision about serious mining business, they are extricated.
Corroborating, the panel moderator, Obiageli Onuorah who is the Assistant Director, Communications, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, noted that the government have not made the industry bearable with unfavourable laws from the Nigeria Labour Act section 56 which states that ‘women are not allowed to work underground as well as night shifts.’ she added that for conflict in the industry to be eradicated, the marginalisation of women should be stopped forthwith.
Earlier, the convener of the conference and CEO, CSR-in-Action, Bekeme Masade averred that for the industry to be more meaningful and balanced, women should be given a choice and not being conditioned to a certain lifestyle.
Together, the panellists suggested that government need to realise that women are the population and backbone of the nation, hence empower them by putting up policies that involves them.
Also, they advised that men should build their capacity to understand that women have more roles to play rather than getting pregnant, just as they enjoined lawmakers to update the Labour Law and make room for more women to partake in enactment of laws.
Other women who spoke at the panel session were: Eva Kouka, Programme Officer, Ford Foundation and Amanda Lumun Feese-Ideh, Technical Adviser, Mineral Policy and Governance, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development