The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) underscored the significant contribution of the women sector in the progress and development of the Philippine mining industry as more women leaders are advancing to top-level positions.

“We need the active participation of women in policy formulation and program development not only to advance their rights in terms of decision-making and leadership but to empower them to address environmental challenges and climate change,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

DENR Assistant Secretary for Finance, Information Systems, and Mining Concerns Nonita S. Caguioa said more women are now involved in the mining sector as proven by the growing number of women employees in mining companies and at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

"We have different mining companies in the nickel industry who already have women senior officials. Not only in nickel mining, but we can also see now plenty of women in the mining industry in general,” Caguioa said during an online forum organized by the Philippine Nickel Industry Association last April 30.

"There are even those who have just finished college in geology, metallurgy or mining engineering, some of whom are already employed with some of the mining companies or the government service," she added.

As more women are involved in the mining industry, Caguioa has cited laws that promote and protect their rights such as Republic Act (RA) 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women of 2009, RA 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, and RA 7192 or the Women in Development and Nation Building Act of 1992.

"Maybe some of us or those other people who do not know about these laws, but this is high time for an awareness of all the women, of all the men. This is a reminder that discrimination against women is being protected by pertinent laws," she explained.

Caguioa pointed out that conditions on non-discrimination of gender are included in the mining permits and agreements issued by the DENR to "respect the right of women workers to participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits."

As a mining engineer, Caguioa also stressed the importance of mainstreaming gender and development in the operations of mining companies in the country to achieve gender equality.

The online forum on "Promoting Sustainable Development by Advancing the Role of Women in Mining" provided a platform for discussions on the participation of women in governance, industries, and broader society in the promotion of sustainability, progress, and long-term development. ###