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Towards a more gender-inclusive extractives sector

Gender provisions in the 2019 EITI Standard is starting to inform more inclusive decision-making, but there is still a long way to go

If extractives resources are to benefit all citizens, both women and men need to be included in the sector’s governance and have equal access to employment opportunities. Yet the extractive industries are disproportionately governed and operated by men, and sector-specific policies that take gender into account are relatively scarce.

Moreover, women and girls bear a disproportionate share of the negative social, economic and environmental impacts of the sector. A recent analysis by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) suggests that women in mineral resource-dependent countries often experience greater wealth and rights inequality than those in countries that are not resource-dependent. The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to deepen gender inequality in the industry, with movement restrictions and employment cuts affecting women who hold the majority of informal and lower paying jobs.

In an effort to support more gender-inclusive decision making in the sector, the EITI Board introduced new gender reporting requirements in the 2019 Standard – related to MSG representation, employment data, information access and participation in EITI implementation. A year on, these provisions have provided a baseline for gender reporting and women’s participation in EITI implementing countries that can inform more inclusive decision making.

A seat at the table

The EITI Standard requires EITI multi-stakeholder groups (MSGs) to consider gender balance in MSGs, so as to promote more inclusive participation in the EITI process and extractives governance.

Today, women represent a fifth of MSG members across all implementing countries, indicating that women do not yet have a representative voice when it comes to EITI implementation. Within this overall picture, some countries are performing well. In Mexico, Seychelles, Tajikistan and Trinidad and Tobago, for example, women account for half or more of total MSG members. Regionally, Latin America comes out on top in terms of gender representation in MSGs.

Leadership roles in MSGs are less equally shared, with only 12% of MSGs being chaired by women. MSG Chairs tend to occupy high-level positions within government, and in many countries, these are roles where women are less likely to be represented. Nonetheless, women lead MSG in countries including Argentina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tajikistan. In addition, 38% of National Coordinators are women, including in Cameroon, Germany, Honduras, Mozambique and the Philippines.

From the ground up

The EITI Standard requires countries to disclose employment data disaggregated by gender and, where possible, by company and occupational level.

A third of EITI implementing countries provide gender-disaggregated employment data, either as a percentage of total employees or in absolute figures as disclosed by reporting companies. For many countries, their latest EITI Report marked the first time such disclosures were included in reporting. In Burkina Faso, EITI reporting includes a recommendation to improve disclosures on the artisanal and small-scale mining sector, with a focus on livelihood opportunities for women.

EITI countries reporting gender-disaggregated data include Afghanistan, Armenia, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ghana, Guinea, Honduras, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

In addition to reporting on employment data, several countries disclose gender-sensitive data on social expenditures by extractive companies, including Ethiopia and Zambia. Such data can help track whether these respond to priorities identified by women, or benefit women’s groups in areas hosting extractive activities.

There are also good practice examples of countries that have highlighted legislation and government policies related to gender and extractives in their reporting. Terms of mineral processing permits in the Philippines include conditions to respect women workers’ rights to participate in policy and decision making. In Senegal, reporting has informed reforms to promote greater inclusion – Article 115 of its 2016 Mining Code states that “the local development plan must integrate projects for the empowerment of women."

On the radar

The EITI Standard requires countries to consider access challenges and information needs of different genders and subgroups of citizens, and encourages them to document how gender considerations and inclusiveness have been taken into account in strengthening the EITI’s impact.

At least a quarter of implementing countries report that they consider gender when conducting dissemination activities and in assessing the impact of the EITI, by including women in consultations.

In the Philippines, EITI outreach activities target female leaders in mining communities. A study is underway to better understand the role and experiences of women in the country’s mining sector, including policy recommendations to address challenges they face. In Mali, women’s feedback is taken into account on annual assessments of impact, and results from survey are presented disaggregated by gender. In Burkina Faso, Liberia and Madagascar, gender-inclusive activities led by women’s groups and companies are included in annual impact assessments.

Towards greater gender inclusion

According to 2020 work plans, many EITI countries are planning to undertake activities to address gender balance on MSGs, improve employment data and strengthen awareness and women’s participation in dissemination activities. The EITI International Secretariat is also exploring opportunities to connect MSGs with partners that have expertise on gender and extractives, to support the implementation of gender-related requirements. 

This stock-take demonstrates some promising advances towards making the extractives sector more inclusive through EITI implementation. But while the new requirements have led to concrete actions and commitments, there is still a long way to go to ensure that the benefits of extractives resources are enjoyed by all citizens. More inclusive reporting can reveal gaps and inform conversations on opportunities and challenges for women in the extractives sector. But closing those gaps will require action and bold policy making.




Photo credit: Trafigura