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Create “policies that include women” in Lesotho, Catholic Social Justice Official to State

Credit: Mamokhantso Refiloe Nkune, Lesotho Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace Mining and Social Justice Officer

An official of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in Lesotho is calling upon the government to create labor “policies and laws that include women” in the mining industry.

In an interview with ACI Africa earlier this week, the Mining and Social Justice Officer of CCJP in Lesotho said that the current labor policies and laws in Lesotho discriminate against women in the mining industry.

“We have realized that the current policies and laws in Lesotho are not fair for women, and do not favor empowerment of women in the mining industry”, Mamokhantso Refiloe Nkune said, and added, “We want to see policies and laws that include women, that empower women, to have a section that really addresses gender equality, especially in the extractive industry.”

Ms. Nkune further said, “We want to put an end to bullying in the workplace; women should know where to report such harassment.”

In the February 21 interview, the Mining and Social Justice Officer who spoke to ACI Africa following a Seminar on Women Participation in Extractive Industry in Lesotho that took place at Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village underscored the need to recognize women as key players in the extractive industry.

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The seminar, Ms. Nkune said, was an opportunity for participants to engage with other like-minded women in business, to push for the creation of laws and policies that accommodate women.

“The aim of the seminar was to strengthen and empower the role of women in the extractive industries,” she said about the forum that brought together some 50 women, and added “we also sought to strengthen advocacy works and policy change for development in the extractive industry.”

Recalling the deliberations during the February 17 seminar, which the CCJP in Lesotho organized in partnership with the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), Ms. Nkune said there is need for the extractive industries in Lesotho to provide training and employment opportunities for women.

“There are qualified unemployed women living in mining areas that would like to be given some sort of training in the mining industry” she said in reference to the discussions during the seminar that aimed at seeking ways to strengthen women economic participation in the extractive industry in Lesotho.

Ms. Nkune added, “If someone has a degree, the (mining) industry should offer that person two to three months training as an intern so that they can gain experience.”

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“There are many business opportunities for women in the mining industry; there are women in mining areas who are small scale farmers that can supply to the mines,” she told ACI Africa, recalling reflections from participants in the February 17 seminar who included women representatives from villages hosting mines and extractives in Lesotho, civil society, employees of mines, trade unions, businesses, and the government.