Women are still a clear minority in the Canadian mining sector – they make up only 14 per cent of the workforce, according to Women in Mining Canada – but their participation in Burkina Faso is almost non-existent. Data from the Association des Femmes du Secteur Minier du Burkina (AFEMIB) says women account for just five per cent of the sector.
“The landscape is the same as everywhere else,” said Tamboura, the association’s founder and president. “Women are not involved in the decision-making stage. [They’re] under-represented in all sectors of the production of gold.”
Tamboura has gone against that grain, and at 55 she is the only woman to lead an exploration company in Burkina, as general manager of gold explorer Predictive Discovery Limited.
She created AFEMIB 15 years ago, and it has made steady, if slow, progress. The association is now part of the board of directors of Burkina’s Ministry of Mines and is in a partnership with the Ministry for the Advancement of Women.
In order to increase the percentage of women in mining, the association is trying to reach women early, by holding workshops about the mining industry for girls in high school and university.
“Seeing more women enter the sector will have a positive impact on relationships with local communities and help build better management teams in the future,” Tamboura said.
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