Mma Keita – My fight as a woman in the mining world

Published: 26/03/2014

By Fatoumata. T. Diallo, Bellzone Community Relations Manager and a WOMAN in Mining

“It all started when I needed an internship after my first degree in geology. I love geology. I went and applied in a very well known mining company operating in my country (Guinea). After they received all students’ requests, they called me and told me that the facilities are not adequate for a woman, so they will have to turn me down.

Oups!!! I told myself; no way will I take that for an answer. I went to the mining ministry and told them that I don’t think it’s fair that I am turned down because I am a woman. I was top of my class. They could not do much as they can’t get involved in internal matters of any company. They still made a call to tell them about the matter. When I met with the company again, they told me they will pick candidates based on competency. There I knew I was in!!!!!!!!!

Conditions were real tough, but I made it and impressed them all. They decided to keep me after the internship. Then my womanhood played a trick on me, I got pregnant. Tried to hide the pregnancy so that they don’t fire me…but when I reached 4 months, the conditions in the mountains became dangerous for my health; I had to let it out.

To be honest, my entire life started changing after that time. After I gave birth, my baby got sick, so I had to stay around him for a while, I could not go back to the mountains. That was very hard on me. This fact made me change my orientation; I switched my career to HSE and risk management. This was not my dream, but my kid needed me. Sometimes a woman has to make tough choices, its part of the price for being a woman.

Today, although I am still a bit bitter, I try to do my job the best I can and raise my 6 years old child. We don’t have many people in the field of risk management in my country, so I can be useful. I still work for that same company that gave me the internship many years ago.”

MMA KEITA told us about her life at the very first forum organized by WIM Guinea on 22 March 2014 . The newly born NGO wants to help women in and around the Mining sector. The Forum was a total success, with the participation of:

  • 2 Ministers (A. Damantang Camara, Minister of Public Work & Technical Training and Naite Moustapha Minister of Youth),
  • ambassadors of UK and South Africa (Mrs Nomasonto M. Sibanda-Thsi),
  • representatives of the Ministries of Mines, Agriculture, Environment,
  • the President of the Mining Chamber (Mr Mamadi Youla) and his General Secretary Mr. Camara and many others.

The room was full of competent women and some men!!!!!!! Among whom some journalists like Akoumba Diallo, a specialist in mining.

The main objective of WIM Guinée is to improve professional conditions for women in mining. The strategy of the organisation will be to work with the government  and mining companies in order to develop women‘s skills and give to improve their woring conditions. It targets rural women around mining sites who need technical and financial support.

When asked why she joined WIM Guinée, Mma just said “I believe we can make a difference if we put our efforts together. We have a lot of competent women; we just need to be better organized and push for proper environment for us. I missed my dream career because of my gender but I can still make a difference with risk management”