On July 18th we hosted a live-chat about our gender responsive value chain. This includes some of the highlights of the conversation. You can see the full conversation here.
Themes & Key talking points
- What can the work on gender & corruption teach us in our work on gender & the extractives? Anecdotal evidence from participants pointed to the idea that women are less likely to engage in corruption, but that when they do, they do it on a higher scale than men. Corruption, Accountability and Gender: Understanding the Connection, a report from UNDP, explores the links.
- Women’s reproductive health is dramatically affected by the environmental impact of extractive projects, which can influence not only ‘the women themselves but also foetal development, breast milk contamination, and oestrogen disruption.’
As well as raising awareness among women of these effects, these health implications should be included in any environmental impact assessment. Perhaps they could also be linked to millennium development goals? (i.e maternal health and infant mortality).
Potential allies to align with could be IIED and their work on small scale mining while another avenue would be to ‘push the implementation of the (recent) Minamata Convention which specifically address the AGSM’
- What of the media coverage of the extractive industies ? How women are ‘represented in the media in relation to the industry and its effects, or reached through the media could be important to consider, especially in the first stage of the chain.’ Can we strike a balance between driving home how extractive projects affect women differently and adversely; yet avoid portraying women as victims?
On the flip side, how are we capturing the perspective that citizens have of the extractive industry operating in their backyard?
- Artisanal and Small scale mining was also a very big source of conversation during the livechat.
Had we done enough to integrate this aspect into our chain? It seems ASM is often the ‘elephant in the room’: a vital sector but one which is overlooked. Donors and policymakers alike seem reluctant to touch it – perhaps because it is broad an issue and not as conceptually ‘neat’ as large-scale mining.
Yet it is an area ‘where most women and youth work and try to make a living and gender impact may be biggest.’ It is also an important issue for women because ‘pollution from unregulated mining has a direct impact on women because of their responsibilities for growing food and water collection’.
Nigeria has started to formalise the sector, having included in the law that ‘anyone seeking a license must sign a 5 year community development agreement’. It is at this stage that ‘we can push for women’s inclusion around the table at negotiations’.
- There are many challenges inherent in increasing the involvement of women at the local community level. Communities often have high expectations of what CSR will deliver – yet CSR is regularly gender-blind and focuses on infrastructure. How can we ensure that women play a stronger role in determining which CSR project would best represent their community and how could they monitor this?
Women in Papua New Guinea managed to negotiate that they should receive, and control, 10% of the benefits from the mine. Find out more in this article, We want what the Ok Tedi women have!
- How can we include community women in formal company level grievance mechanisms? Perhaps technology could be the answer? There have been pilots where SMS has been used to express grievances and complaints. Technology could be well suited for ‘women that are typically more socially connected but not always with sufficient power to play a large role in forums’.
- What about promoting women’s leadership and participation in PWYP coalitions and EITI MSGs?
There are currently four out of ten women representing civil society on the EITI board, but we don’t know how many women are involved at the national level. PWYP might commission a study to look at this in more depth.
Would having more women in executive positions in extractive companies also be helpful? As British Business Minister Jo Swinson pointed out ‘of the only eight companies in the FTSE 100 that have no women on their boards, three quarters are mining companies.’
As well as including the increase of women’s involvement as one of the underlying principles in the chain, how can it be realised? Is the only way to truly support women’s involvement to mandate it?
- ‘If we don’t use mercury, the buyers won’t buy the gold’. VIDEO on the use of mercury in mining in Niger
- IIED shines a light on small-scale mining IIED’s work on small scale mining
- The Minamata Convention (on the use of mercury)
- An example of good media coverage of gender and the extractives – Mozambican tribal queen stands up to Rio Tinto over land
- We want what the Ok Tedi women have! An article about the women of the Ok Tedi community who negotiated that 10% of the benefits from mining would be controlled by them and takeaways from the case
- Oxfam shared their Gender Impact Assessment Guide as well as their Grievance Mechanism Guide