Tanzania: UN Women report identifies barriers faced by women in extractives sector
A recent study titled "Mapping Study on Gender & Extractives Report in Mainland Tanzania" conducted by UN Women Tanzania in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada reveals sytematic structural and cultural barriers faced by women in the extractives sector. This includes sexual harassment and discrimination in employment opportunities.
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Tanzania: Woman miner on how she had to disguise as a man to overcome cultural barriers in mining sector
Author: The Huffington Post
"I became a man, just to access the mines”
Pili Hussein is Tanzania’s first woman miner, who disguised herself as a man to access the Tanzanite mines. During the week, she worked alongside men in the mines and on weekends, as a farm hand. Today, she has 70 employees, a mining license, and wants to make sure that the next generation of women miners don’t face the same barriers as she did.
"I was 31 when I ran away from my abusive husband’s home and made my way towards the Mererani mines at the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I had heard that a few grams of the famed blue stone—the lucky Tanzanite—sold for thousands of shillings. When I arrived in Mererani, I was told that women were not allowed to enter the mines. I didn’t know if the law forbid women or the men didn’t think women could do the job. I secretly followed some men into a mine and watched them dig and sieve the dirt for raw tanzanite. I thought to myself, I can do this too. Why should it matter that I am a woman?
That day I took on the name of Mjomba Hussein (Uncle Hussein). My ski cap hid my hair and part of my face. I abandoned my skirt for loose trousers and long sleeved shirts. I worked alongside men for 10 – 12 hours every day; they never suspected that I was a woman. I drank Konyagi (local gin) and joked with the men about which village women I liked. The miners treated me as an equal and even sought my counsel. I was able to convince them to stop harassing the village women."
Author: UN Women Tanzania & Global Affairs Canada
"Mapping Study on Gender and Extractives Report in Mainland Tanzania"
The study maps gender-specific challenges in the extractive industry, and provides policy recommendation on how to promote women’s engagement in non-traditional employment, such as in the mining sector. It identifies barries faced by women such as sexual harassment including in artisanal mines, discrimination during employment and maternity and lack of capital to engage in artisanal mining.