Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has called on the government to enact laws and policies which ensure gender parity within the mining sector to protect women.
The organisation emphasised in a statement that women in the mining sector need policies that will enable them to sustain their mining operations to alleviate poverty.
“The government should support women in mining with the requisite tools to resuscitate their businesses, failure of which could result in some of them failing to continue with their mining operations, thus, plunging them deep into poverty.”
ZELA said the government, through the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, should monitor the violation of environmental, economic, social and cultural rights of women affected by mining activities in their communities.
“The Commission should investigate reports and institute the necessary processes that ensure communities get access to remedy. Public resources should be allocated according to agreed strategic priorities, including ensuring that this addresses gender equality,” ZELA said.
“Gender-responsive budgeting should be integrated into planning and budgeting processes including introducing gender-related strategic objectives into policies and budgets. The taxation systems should also have a gender lens that removes the tax burden on the poorest and vulnerable in society, particularly, women, youths, PWDs and the elderly.”
The organisation further highlighted that the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in business losses and some women are being compelled to find alternative means to recapitalise their businesses.
“The International Labour Organization estimates that some 1.6 billion people employed in the informal economy or nearly half the global workforce could see their livelihoods destroyed due to the continued decline in working hours brought on by lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19,” ZELA said.
“The government should thus ensure it brings finality to the formalisation of artisanal mining. Delays in formalising and regularising artisanal miners continue to affect the sector players whose contribution to the growth and development of Zimbabwe’s economy cannot be overemphasised.”