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By: Selma Taapopi

Less than 20% of women are employed in the mining sector compared to their male counterparts. This was shared by Vice-President Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah while officiating the Mine Workers Union Women’s conference last Friday, themed ‘ Empowering and gearing women up for future roles.

In her keynote address, Nandi-Ndaitwah stated that gender inequality has globally become a concern, adding that there are efforts to improve the lives of women employed in the mining sector. Nandi-Ndaitwah further cited a study by the University of Namibia (Unam) which shows that 18% of women are employed in the mining sector, while the majority 82% are made up of men.

In addition, Nandi-Ndaitwah urged women in leadership positions to serve and positively impact the lives of fellow Namibians. She further emphasised the evolution of women, saying that today’s women are not the same as those of the past.

“The women of today will not experience what the women of yesterday experienced, because there are constitutions, laws and policies that were not there before they were enacted by our parliament,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.

Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy Kornelia Shilunga said women have taken the lead in all spheres of leadership, citing herself as the first female mines and energy deputy minister, a role she says she was hesitant about. Shilunga stated that although women have long been involved in mining, their roles and importance have often been overlooked.