Communiqué - Towards A Gender-Responsive Extractive Industry in Africa

Source: PWYP International & UN Women
Date: 17 Apr 2022

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On 4-5 April, 2013, 40 representatives from government, civil society and the United Nations (Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda) gathered in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to launch a dialogue on gender and the extractives. The meeting marks the first milestone in the partnership between UN Women and Publish What You Pay (PWYP) to work towards a gender responsive extractive industry in Africa.

The dialogue had two broad objectives: to develop a better understanding of the gender dimensions of the extractive industry and to map a way forward in shaping a more gender responsive extractive industry.

Natural resources represent a major source of wealth for economies around the world, and are central to Africa’s economic growth and development. The full benefit of these resources will only be enjoyed if they are managed in a transparent and responsible manner and directed towards creating sustainable and equitable economies and societies.

A better understanding of the gender dimensions of the extractive industry is vital to improving development outcomes both at the micro and macro levels and in affected communities.

Gender and women’s empowerment should not be an afterthought in natural resource management, but an integral and explicit component which is addressed along the extractive value chain. It is in this light that UN Women and PWYP initiated a gender analysis of the Chain for Change, the Extractive Industry value chain PWYP has developed for and from a citizen’s perspective.

Below are the issues raised during the dialogue as well as recommendations on the way forward in the short and medium term.


  • Natural resources are a public good which belong to all citizens. Currently, women barely have a place in decision making bodies related to the governance of these resources, be it in policy making, regulation, technical aspects and revenue management. We recognise that there are some women in leadership positions, but they are very few and without a critical mass and the necessary capacity to sufficiently influence the sector.
  • Women remain peripheral to the extractive sector, relegated to artisanal and small scale mining which is insufficiently regulated, characterised by very harmful and difficult conditions and yields very limited economic benefit for them. The potential of women’s contribution to the sector is not fully harnessed.
  • It is important that women, as citizens, become central to this process, gain the capacity and access to resources, services and technologies that enable them to fairly participate and compete in the extractive business – as owners, service providers and/or employees.
  • The benefit of extractive revenue for local communities, but especially women and youth, is not visible, yet the suffering caused by displacement, environmental degradation and pollution, health risks and insecurity is mostly borne by women and their children.
  • Transparency and accountability are key mechanisms in the bid for a fair, responsible and inclusive natural resource management; these are principles which can also serve in the pursuit of a natural resource sector which addresses the differing interests of women and men in varied strata of society.
  • Mismanagement of the extractive industry contributes to the violation of human rights, especially the rights of women. Environmental degradation also causes serious threats to women’s livelihoods and wellbeing (health and the need to seek out safer ground for food, water and shelter). Land rights must apply to land users as well as land owners.
  • There is a lack of facilities, amenities and accommodation for women in extractive communities, and the effects felt by women when men leave to become migrant workers are not adequately quantified or addressed.
  • There is limited data, access to information and knowledge about gender issues in the extractive sector, making it difficult to ensure gender responsive policies, legal frameworks and programmes in this sector.

Key principles

All deliberations and activities shall be guided by the following key principles:

  • Natural resources are primarily a means to sustainable and equitable economic and social development.
  • Gender considerations should be central and explicit in the entire value chain to promote women’s socio-economic empowerment and rights; women should be brought to the heart of the extractive industry.
  • Transparency and accountability are essential for natural resource wealth to translate into benefits for all citizens, women and men.
  • In the entire extractive value chain our work must be underpinned by conflict sensitivity.
    This is essential forthe prevention of extractive related conflict.
  • We recognise that in the pursuit of a gender responsive extractive sector we are not only dealing with economic and technical issues, but also cultural and social ones.
  • Gender analysis and intervention must take place via multiple entry points at every level of the industry.
  • The broadest possible range of stakeholder involvement and participation should be sought.

The Way Forward

Research and Auditing

  • There is little information or knowledge about the role of women in the sector. Further research is needed to understand the gender impacts of extractive industries and develop targeted interventions.
    • Conduct gender analysis.
    • Establish gender responsive baselines and indicators.
    • Review existing policies and frameworks.
  • Documenting, collating and disseminating existing research and information resources, including the creation of a regional database/repository. The African Mineral Development Centre has been nominated as host.
  • A series of gender audits are needed addressing areas including:
    • The total economy of the mining sector including the distribution of benefits in the value chain
    • Macro elements and total flows of finance into and out of the extractive
      industry sectors

Legal and institutional frameworks

  • Artisanal and small scale mining
  • International dimensions of bilateral investment agreements
  • Gender analysis of the African Mining Vision and then support its domestication at the country and community level.
  • Develop a women’s protocol for the African Mining Vision.
  • Mapping of key stakeholders, organizations active on key aspects, opportunities, and good practices.

Political Empowerment and Leadership

  • Utilize the role of UN Women in linking Government and civil society for advocacy.
  • Strengthen women’s leadership so women are able to participate in decision making processes at the executive and parliamentary level, on corporate boards, and at the local government and community level.
  • Capacity building and strengthening of government and civil society for action.
  • Political parties have an important role to play, and an opportunity to better consider issues specific to gender and the extractive industry. Political parties need to ensure that women are represented in executive positions.

Engaging with Local Communities

  • Develop models for building alternative, sustainable economic activities for affected local communities (as a form of compensation).
  • Develop strategies for involving local communities in the initial planning and implementation of extractive industry projects.
  • Develop effective community engagement processes to bring together all stakeholders. In this respect the UN can utilize its coordination role and offer a neutral platform.
  • Communities need to be properly informed in order to manage expectations. An effective communications policy needs to be in place.

Engaging with the Private Sector

  • Use associations as an entry point to engage with the private sector.
  • Call on the private sector to adopt gender sensitive compensation policies.
  • Call on the private sector to negotiate and work with women directly rather than their male representatives.
  • Advocate for gender sensitive local content policies to favour local women small micro enterprises as providers of input and services to EI projects.
  • Call on the private sector to design Environmental and Social Impact Assessments that incorporate gender responsive indicators and are conducted in a gender sensitive manner.
  • Call on the private sector to adopt gender sensitive corporate social responsibility investments in community development.

Harmonizing Legal and Policy Frameworks

  • Use regional governance bodies (such as, but not limited to, SADC and ECOWAS) as access points to promote the harmonization of policy frameworks at the regional level.

Public Outreach and Communications

  • Key facts and messages aimed at local, national and international audiences must be developed and disseminated.
  • UN Women and PWYP to write to all PWYP chapters and UN Women offices informing them of the partnership and offering support and guidance.
  • Joint advocacy around the International Women’s Day EI theme.
  • Communications tools to be created to ensure ongoing sharing of research and other work.
  • Engage with governments that have a role to play on raising awareness regarding the gender dimension of the extractive sector.

Capacity Development

  • Effective gender analysis of extractive industry by civil society, business and government, including thorough gender-responsive budgeting.
  • Continuous monitoring and auditing of the sector to ensure that gains are maintained and new initiatives and projects analysed robustly.
  • Empower women leaders in all stakeholder groups and at all levels. Capacity for education and training in disciplines and technologies relevant to the sector, for both genders, must be improved.