WLSA’s WORK ON GENDER AND EXTRACTIVES
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 publicised 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. The mining sector is recognised as a key driver to economic growth. Zimbabwe has also put in place the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and Broad Based Women’s Economic empowerment framework that focuses on agriculture, mining and tourism, where women have been left behind.
BACKGROUND ON WLSA WORK ON EXTRACTIVES.
In the year 2012, Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust Zimbabwe received funds from UN Women to implement a project entitled “Creating a conducive legal and policy environment for women in mining in Zimbabwe”. This project saw to the conducting of a baseline survey on gender and extractives in Kwekwe and Zhombe and the findings have been documented. In 2017, WLSA also received a two year grant (2017-2018) from OSISA to conduct a project entitled; “Making the Mining Policy and Legal Framework more Gender Responsive”. In this project, as shall be explained later, Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) proposes that the Extractives sector in Zimbabwe can be more gender responsive when women’s agency is built and policy and legal frameworks engendered. The overall goal of the project is to promote women’s economic justice through promoting their effective participation in the mining sector. In 2018, WLSA received another grant from Urgent Action fund to support support women from Hwange Colliery mine to continue with the protest until all the workers are paid. The protest is being spearheaded by more than 300 women and children of the company’s employees who sometime in January 2018, besieged the main administration offices demanding that the company pay their husbands and father’s salaries which were now several months overdue. WLSA saw an opportunity to seek funding to support the women in a bid to address some of the gender gaps that were noted in the gender audit on mining which was conducted in Hwange by WLSA in 2017, women rights issues related to the issues being protested and as well as a new avenue to explore the link between women human rights and labour rights..
WHY Gender and Extractives
Extractive sector projects are highly disruptive, with impacts on the environment, people’s livelihoods, and community life. Women, girls, men, and boys experience these impacts differently. For the most part, women and girls disproportionately experience harm while missing out on the benefits the industry may bring.
Extractives are Gender Biased :
- Male dominated, both in workforce and in industry culture
- Discrimination and harassment against women (verbal, physical and sexual) are prevalent
- Women in mining typically paid less than men
- Gender issues inadequately integrated into national policies and regulations
- Gender-blind policies and practices result in women’s exclusion from consultation and decision-making processes
Gender Justice Recommendations to Government:
- Avoid gender discrimination in land acquisition and compensation, avoid involuntary resettlement
- Adopt fair tax systems and conduct gender budgeting
- Address violence against women and girls
- Require gender impact assessments
- Enable women’s participation in approvals process, public policy development and economic opportunities around resource extraction
- Build capacity around gender in government depts
Gender Justice Recommendations to Companies
- Develop gender policies, in consultation with women’s rights organizations
- Conduct gender impact assessments
- Develop protocols for equal and safe participation of women in all decision-making (e.g. IBAs, local development plans, community based monitoring, FPIC)
- Increase gender parity in local employment and recruitment
- Enable professional development for female employees to facilitate women’s mobility into leadership role
- Contract with women-owned businesses and companies with good gender practices