By Pabalelo Tlou

Rural Young Women Support Network, a local NGO has conducted a research which looks at challenges that young women are facing in the mining sector, calling on government and other responsible authorities to intervene and introduce measures to impower and protect them.

Speaking to the publication director of the NGO, Margret Chogugudza said the research was conducted in four different mining communities of Mutoko, Goromonzi, Chokomba and Wedza.

Adding that ” Women in these host communities are subject to gender-based violence, sexual abuse and exploitation, harsh working conditions, economic vulnerability as well as limited educational opportunities.”

Chogugudza expressed concern over the plight of these young women and urges the government to start listening and provide the necessary protection and solutions to empower them.

” The government should review and update mining laws and regulations to ensure they include provisions for gender equality, protection of women rights and access to mining opportunities” she said.

She further highlighted that the government should fulfill it’s constitutional obligation to promote the health and wellbeing of women.

“The government also needs to fullfill it’s constitutional obligation to promote the rights to healthcare, safe and clean water, environment, education and the right to equality an non-discrimination.” She said.

Through the outcomes the NGO found on its research, Chogugudza said it is of paramount importance that mining companies start engaging with local communities to understand their needs and wants.

“It is very important that mining companies start engaging with the local communities to understand their needs and concerns, and also involve women in decision making processes related to mining activities” she said, adding that ” mining companies should also develop and implement gender inclusive policies that promote the inclusion and advancement of women in the mining workforce.”

The NGO also called for local authorities to design an implement environmental protection structures, community programs and also provide social services such as counseling and support to victimised women.