The gendered impacts of mining

The impacts of mining are not gender neutral. Women often experience the negative impacts of mining more than men, and rarely receive the benefits that men do.

Our work shows that:

  • women are not consulted when companies negotiate access to land, compensation or benefits
  • when mining damages the environment, it undermines a woman’s ability to provide food and clean water for her family and can increase her workload
  • compensation and benefits are paid to men “on behalf of” their families, denying women access to mining’s financial benefits and potentially increasing their economic dependence on men
  • women can lose their traditional status in society when mining creates a cash-based economy
  • a transient male work force can bring increased alcohol, sex workers and violence into a community, which can affect the safety of women
  • female mine workers often face discrimination, poor working conditions and unequal pay for equal work

Oxfam is working to ensure that gender justice becomes a central issue in global mining sector reform efforts and that women’s rights are more progressively realised.

Oxfam resources

Oxfam’s Tunnel Vision: Women, Mining and Communities, was a ground breaking report and one of the first globally to expose the gendered impacts of mining.

We have recently updated our Guide to Gender Impact Assessment for the Extractive Industries to assist companies and civil society organisations to conduct gender impact assessments of mining projects.

We are also developing a gender impact assessment app to support the guides on gender impact assessment for the mining and hydropower sectors. The app will allow information to be collected in the field and will facilitate the analysis of this data to inform company-community engagement strategies and programs.

Our report, Gender and the extractive industries: putting gender on the corporate agenda, aims to put pressure on mining companies to work towards gender equality and the realisation of women’s rights. If they don’t, they may fail to meet their human rights obligations, face possible legal action or conflict with local communities, and could be wasting their investments on community development projects that do not deliver the best results.

Oxfam’s Position Paper on Gender Justice and the Extractive Industries outlines Oxfam’s position on gender justice in the context of extractive industries. It describes some of the causes and consequences of the Extractive Industry’s gendered impacts, and it summarizes Oxfam’s recommendations to mining, oil, and gas companies, to governments, and to international financial institutions for achieving better gender equality outcomes and advancing women’s rights.