3. Establishing a policy, legal and regulatory framework
The extractives sector impacts women and men differently. Therefore it is important to have a policy, legal and regulatory framework, which acknowledges and responds to these differences. Without explicit recognition, laws and policies designed to be gender neutral, could in fact be gender blind. This can exacerbate existing gender inequalities. Legislation needs to be designed in a way that considers the gender-differentiated needs of men and women and aims to redress inequities in power, access, and control.
Strong, meaningful and inclusive consultation underpinning the policy formulation process will help to identify and mitigate the potential for harm or exclusion from the sector.
Where countries decide to pursue local content policies, these must consider ways to ensure women are also able to benefit and participate. Local content policies could include gender targets, or requirements for bids to include gender targets. Legislation can oblige companies to commit to gender smart hiring practices.
Legislators and policy makers must also think about and address the way that existing law, policy and practice might constrain women’s opportunities and seek to address these. For instance there may be laws that restrict inheritance or land ownership, which will constrain a woman’s ability to access finance, receive compensation and pass that compensation on.
Key Questions and Considerations:
Have policy makers and legislators considered gender differences? Do they have a sufficient evidence base to draw from?
Were women decision makers, community leaders and civil society representatives consulted in the development or policy and legislation?
Has the government worked with companies and other stakeholders to sensitise them to gender provisions within the legal framework?
Do existing policies or laws constrain women’s ability to participate in the sector?
Have government personnel been trained on the country’s relevant gender laws and policies?
Are women working within government agencies working with the sector?
Are government departments dealing with the sector adequately staffed and funded?
Are gender considerations included as performance targets at an individual and institutional level? Do government strategies and business plans include measureable gender targets?
Is implementation of institutional strategies and business plans monitored and measured?
Underpinning all of the above is a need for strong institutional understanding of and commitment to gender equality within the sector. It is important that gender equality is visible in strategy, law and policy and that the government lead by example at senior levels in promoting this issue.
Ensuring continued gender balanced consultation on the sector will promote the importance of gender equality, whilst including adherence to gender policy in job descriptions and performance targets will help improve an institutional will around this. Donor and civil society partners can work with government on this issue to increase its prominence.