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Balancing Between The Court Room and Mine Shaft: The Story of Tina Kadhau.

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Women face different economic challenges as a result of the lack of access to, use of and control over resourceful land and other productive resources, licences, finance, and geological data. In many cases, such as that observed in Zimbabwe, traditional beliefs prevent women from utilizing these economic factors, denying them any control over earnings.

At policy level, the existing discrimination against women often puts them at a lower order in policy decisions affecting them. The de jure and de facto inequity in access to and control over land and property rights limits women from accessing various other determinants of mining business success, such as finance.

Due to the traditionally influenced legal constraints to owning or inheriting land and mineral rights, many women end up operating unregistered. This increases their vulnerability in the current efforts to promote formalization, which, in itself, is characterized by arduous requirements many women are unable to fulfill.

Without a commitment to gender mainstreaming, existing prejudices can be reinforced by the formalization process stifling women’s capacity to contribute to a productive and responsible mining sector.

Strong cultural norms have influenced legal approaches to gender issues resulting in subtle and, at times, open legal discriminations against women. Thus, legal and cultural discriminations, domestic and childcare responsibilities, and lack of education have relegated women to passive participation, making it difficult for them to openly air their concerns and ideas in front of men.

This lower status has meant women have little to no power or influence in actively participating in key decision-making processes. As a result, women’s views, needs, ideas and potential to contribute to solutions are overlooked.

In today’s instalment of Celebrating Women in Mining, Great Dyke News 24 reporter Jeoffrey Ncube talks to Advocate Tina Kadhau a registered legal practitioner as well as a woman miner to tell us how she manages to juggle the two demanding jobs

JN: CAN YOU TELL US WHO YOU ARE?  

TK: My name is Advocate Tina Kadhau and I’m a registered legal practitioner with the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

I am currently  practicing  under T.Kadhau Law Chambers based in Harare as the managing partner .I have 12 years’ experience  in the private practice sector and I am the founder  and managing partner  of T Kadhau Law Chambers which  has been in operation  for 5 years. I am also a board member of Victory Tobacco group. I am a corporate lawyer and specialising in mining law as one of my key areas of interest.

JN: WHAT ARE YOU MINING AND WHERE?

TK: I am mining gold in Mashonaland Central  Province in Chiweshe. I have   also pegged claims in Mashonaland West Province and I am awaiting title.

JN: AS A LAWYER SPECIALISING IN MINING LAW, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO IMPROVE THE LOT OF WOMEN IN MINING?

TK: During my professional work over the years. I have helped women in mining especially with regards to litigation.

Most women have opportunities that arise but lack the legal knowledge to protect their rights and interests. I have helped women who had mining disputes for instance when their mine has been unlawfully invaded.

At times  it meant having sleepless  nights filing  urgent  chamber applications in the middle  of the  night  for spoliation  orders in a bid to evict  illegal  miners who would have  invaded ones mine.

I have also helped female miners in drafting legal documents such as joint venture agreement, shareholders agreements and also company registration.

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I have assisted female miners in registration of trust agreements, drafting of wills and administration of estates. Some of my work includes registration of trusts.

In my experience  of practicing  law I realized  that despite the efforts  by our government  and legal  system  in improving  the status of women in society  as far  as the law of property  is concerned women still remain the underprivileged and marginalized group. They lack the masculine physical build up and in most cases the only option immediately available to them is to resort to application of the law.

Women work so hard with most of them being breadwinners but when the husband dies or they go through a divorce they end up being taken advantage of and lose their assets. Their properties are grabbed by the deceased husband’s relatives and end up losing their children’s inheritance and their lifetime savings and investments.

JN: WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS A WOMAN?

TK: Gender discrimination is rampant and still remains our biggest challenge as professional women and also in other employment sectors such as mining. Society has prescribed stereotypes and gender roles that are suitable for women and believe that women cannot take up strenuous jobs and leadership roles. In my case, I believe that I have defied the odds by crossing the boundaries regardless of my gender status.

I started the firm  as a woman and through  hardworking and persistence I managed to grow  the firm  and now I employ  at least  8 employees.

Besides  being  a professional  woman  I have crossed  the boundaries  and started mining  projects which are outside my formal job description.

JN: CAN YOU TELL US YOUR JOURNEY INTO MINING?

I have  always  have been  passionate  about  mining  and from  childhood  I was the outspoken  girl  child. The voice of the voiceless and interested in women empowerment issues. I developed interest over the years.

 Like I said of all the sectors I could have ventured into, where women are the minority voice and are undermined, I decided to venture into mining because I developed an interest after interacting with women in the industry and became curious to know more about what happens  practically on the ground.

I also saw other women managing to raise their families and dependents from proceeds they made from their mining business. This included artisanal miners and other corporates, hence I was motivated that I could start and develop it into a profitable business.

When I started  my mining  projects  I did  not even  have a worksuit. I faced challenges  when I would  travel  to the sites because  of my dressing. I saw other women who were in the field dressed in their PPE and I learnt that I had to dress for the occasion at all times. When I bought my work suit I was so excited.

The lesson of the story is that when one decides to venture into a line of business make sure you observe, learn and find the tools of the trade.

I had an opportunity to interact with other women and learn the practical side of mining. I only knew the theoretically side. I am grateful  that I met some women   who taught me and mentored me .I’m still learning  but I’m happy  that they were not selfish  with  information.

JN: WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE OF INSPIRATION TO WOMEN WHO WANT TO GET IN THE MINING SECTOR?

TK: My advice would be that they should not be discouraged when it comes to following their dreams and aspirations. Every day comes with a lesson, if first you don’t succeed dust yourself up and try again. At the end of the day hardwork pays, one should be more of a doer and not just a talker.

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