Gender, women rights and extractives industry in Zimbabwe

Agriculture used to be the back bone of the Zimbabwean economy. From 1990 onwards a combination of factors such as structural adjustment programmes, retrenchments, droughts, land reform and economic challenges led to the decline in the agricultural sector. This decline resulted in an increase in mining activities both legal and illegal. Mining brings with it the attendant risks of damage to the environment, health risks and social ills but to its credit it also results in significant income at both country and household levels. For mining to make a meaningful impact, the legal framework must be conducive. WLSA, with support from OSISA is implementing a two year project (2017-2018) titled, “Amplifying the voice of women in the extractive industry in Zimbabwe.

At the continental level Zimbabwe is party to the AU mining vision of 2009 which has been buttressed by the action plan on 2011. The plan has room for the development of national policies. In Zimbabwe the vision is not widely known or publicized and yet it provides an opportunity for integration of gender issues. This could relate to the inclusion of women in Boards of mining companies; the employment of women; the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), human rights and gender responsive environmental impact assessments; value addition and beneficiation that is gender responsive among other issues. To that end, Zimbabwe has also put in place the ZIMASSET policy (Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation). This policy is underpinned by four strategic pillars, these being food security and nutrition; social services and poverty eradication; infrastructure and utilities and value addition and beneficiation. The mining sector is recognised as a key driver to economic growth. Zimbabwe has also put in place the Broad Based Women’s Economic empowerment framework that focuses on agriculture, mining and tourism, where women have been left behind.

This training manual will therefore add value to the extractives sector in Zimbabwe as we strive to ensure that women are not left behind.