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

Oxfam has published Women, communities and mining, a guide to assist companies and civil society organisations to conduct gender impact assessments of mining projects. The guide is currently being updated.

Oxfam is also developing a gender impact assessment app, Balancing the scales — Using gender impact assessment in hydropower development, 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.