Gender and Extractives

8. The role of the private sector in ensuring gender equality

Private sector companies can have a positive role in ensuring gender equality in the extractive industries and the government has a role in attracting and working with companies that have a positive approach and track record in doing this. Governments can use bidding and tendering processes to establish companies’ approaches to gender equality and through policy and legislation, can oblige companies to undertake steps that will contribute to positive outcomes for women. Some options are listed below:

  • Oblige companies to undertake a thorough gender analysis of their projects and design project in a way that is gender sensitive and allows women to define the appropriate method of participation

  • Oblige companies to carry out mapping to encourage women’s participation in consultation and understand best times and locations, ensuring women will be able to participate alongside child care and other roles.

  • Ensure companies have a clear plan for integrating women into their work force and working with female suppliers.

  • Mandate that companies have policies, systems and monitoring needed to ensure there is full commitment to gender equality

Key Questions and Considerations:

  • Does the company have gender programmes and policies?

  • Does the company have a clear track record in implementing such policies? What incentive mechanisms are in place to drive this?

  • What track record does the company have in ensuring the safety of women working in or affected by its extractive operations?

  • Has the government developed clearly communicated guidelines on the responsibilities of companies with respect to gender equality?  

Community consultation and involvement can be key to the success of an extractive operation, enabling the company to develop a social licence to operate and build a positive relationship with the affected community. However all too often, women are left out of consultation and community decisions. The government should take a strong leading role in ensuring communities and companies enjoy a positive relationship and that women are meaningfully included throughout.

Companies’ community consultation and gender equality

A table that can be accessed here details companies' community consultation and gender equality processes and relevant key tasks.