It is for this reason that the president of Women in Mining in Nigeria, Engr. Janet Adeyemi, encourages school girls and women to participate actively in mining through career building, following the positive effect of the sector on Nigerian economy.
She lamented that only 6.8% of women are found in the mining sector against the 94% who are men, hence the need for the inauguration of the Girls for Mining Club across secondary schools in the country.
Engr. Adeyemi recently inaugurated Girls For Mining Clubs across public and private secondary schools in Plateau, with a view to encouraging girls to take careers related to the mining sector, to enable them compete with their male counterparts who dominate the sector.
She said: “Today, Nigeria is dependent on crude oil as its major source of wealth, however, the world does not want crude oil anymore. Now they want solar energy, hydro-power and other sources of power that are not oil. So at this time, we are witnessing the gradual passing away of the oil and gas sector in the globe and when it finally fades out, Nigeria will be left with only two means of wealth creation- mining and agriculture.
“Mining sector will soon become more wealthy and prosperous than the oil and gas sector ever was in Nigeria. So, when I had this foresight of the mining sector in Nigeria, what I saw was a blissful and rich future for the mining sector, but the question I asked myself is: when the sector finally takes the front seat, who will be left in it, calling the shots and milking the benefits?
“When I look at statistics, of all the mainstream miners in Nigeria today, only 6.8% are women, the remaining 94% are men. So, the women in the mining sector today are a drop in the ocean, and the few women in the sector are being edged out of the game by gender blind laws and by misogynists. So the number of women in the sector will keep dropping. If we do nothing to pump female miners into the sector now, the women on ground today will all be gone someday.”
Adeyemi, represented by the secretary, Women in Mining, Plateau State, Mrs Raulatu Piwuna, inaugurated Girls for Mining Club in over eight schools: Air Force Girls Military School, Jos; Federal Government College Jos; COCIN Headquarters Church Secondary School, Jos and Government College Jos, Baptist High school, Jos, TCNN staff secondary school, Jos and Government Secondary School Chwel Nyap.
She said: “All students in the G4M club will regularly participate in inter-school quizzes, and debates. Winners will be given awards in each competition. All students of the G4M will go for annual excursions to mining sites, tourist sites, natural resources regulatory agencies or other places of interests in line with the overall intent of the G4M.”
“I saw a gap in the mining sector that I wanted to fill up. That gap is called the gender gap. The only way to meaningfully populate the mining sector of today with productive women, is to begin to guide our girls from their school age, into a prosperous future in the mining sector.
“I called together our WIMIN leaders at the national level and tabled the idea of Girls for Mining (G4M), to them. We unanimously accepted this sustainable initiative and resolved that G4M will be created in all states of Nigeria and Plateau is the very first state we are inaugurating this club. Students of the G4M club will benefit from Women In Mining in Nigeria.
“Each student of the G4M club will stand a chance to travel abroad for an exchange visit, to tour mine sites, meet fellow students abroad and meet with high profile female miners for mentorship and opportunities.
“All students of the G4M club will have mentors who shall guide them through their secondary education
Any student of the G4M club who has decided to pursue a career in any mining related courses will be assisted to secure admission to study that course at any tertiary institution of her choice in Nigeria. All students of the G4M club will have the opportunity to work with Women In Mining in Nigeria for a one year internship and training.
“In many years to come, it will be on record that you girls pioneered the G4M club. The zeal and efforts of each one of you will set the standard for this club and thousands of other girls who will join the club will have to abide by the standard you have set for the club.
“My dear girls for mining, you all seated here are leaders of the G4M club and I want you to accord yourselves such honour and respect. You are officially our children at Women in Mining and we will help you succeed. Do not believe anyone who tells you that one job is for men alone.
“Every woman who pursues her passion in the midst of men is always a shinning star because she stands out and I know you want to be shinning stars too.”
Commissioner of Education Plateau Staten(Secondary), Mrs. Elizabeth Wapmuk, who was represented by Assistant Director, Science and Technology, Chung Silas Sati, described the initiative as apt, following the importance attached to the mining sector in the development of Nigerian economy.
He said the education sector in the state will work towards incorporating into the school curriculum the mining sector to encourage young girls to take career in mining to develop the sector for the advancement of Nigeria.