ABOVE: Marie-Chantal Kaninda (left), Executive Director of the WDC, meeting with Jean Claude Kouassi, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Mines and Geology, in Abidjan on May 31, 2019.

Marie-Chantal Kaninda, WDC Executive Director, was a guest of honor at a conference focusing on the role of women in the mining sector, held in Abidjan in the West African state of Côte d’Ivoire on May 31, 2019.

Organized by the Women’s Mining Sector Network of Côte d’Ivoire (FEMICI), the conference looked at the participation of woman in the country’s formal mining industries. The keynote speech was delivered by Jean Claude Kouassi, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Mines and Geology.

After providing a broad overview of the WDC, the role it plays in the Kimberley Process, its commitment to ethical practices in all sectors of the diamond industry and its ability to promote capacity building in producing countries, Ms. Kaninda said that women should be provided the opportunity to find their place in the mining sector on merit. Equality in the work place is not only indicated by the diversity of the labor force, she noted, but also by the degree to which it is inclusive.

According to Christine Logbo Kossi, President of FEMICI, the underrepresentation of women is not only related to a lack of awareness in the sector, but also to companies not taking into account the specific requirements of female employees. “We must create favorable conditions to attract and retain women in the mining sector given the multiplicity of alternatives that exist,” she said

At the time of the conference, Côte d’Ivoire had only 1,039 women registered as employees of mining companies.

In his speech, Mr. Kouassi pledged the Côte d’Ivoire’s government’s support. “The fate of millions of women is at stake. That’s why we have chosen to increase their contribution, to promote more jobs and more rights. We have decided to implement several projects, including supporting women’s training and improving their employability,” he said.

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