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Publish What You Pay reports on pilot project looking at gender and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in West Africa

Author: Charlotte Ørnemark, Publish What You Pay, Published on: 19 February 2019

"Gendered change to transparency in extactives starts in West Africa", 15 February 2019.

...How do you change a system that is largely ‘gender blind’?...For many (if not most) civil society groups seeking to influence the transparent governance of extractive industries in their countries, this is a reality. And it led to PWYP [Publish What You Pay] picking up the challenge to undertake some research, led by three PWYP coalitions in West Africa (Burkina FasoGuinea and Senegal), with others joining (GhanaNigeria and Togo) to do a gender scan of their own coalitions and membership...

Recently the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has been more vocal on gender issues. However, it is up to EITI implementing countries to put a more transformative gender approach into practice...A gender break-down of participation in governance and decision-making structures within the EITI universe is not easily available; neither is it always clear what percentage of participants were women or representing local women’s groups when validations of EITI reports took place locally. Multi-stakeholder groups (MSGs) – with representatives from government, companies and civil society mandated to oversee the national EITI implementation – had a representation of women which varied from 7% to 20%. Some MSGs elsewhere have no women participating at all according to research by the Institute for Multi-stakeholder Initiative Integrity (2015). Another form of making women invisible is not gender disaggregating data in the reporting. When it exceptionally happens, reported gender disparities are revealing. For instance, in Burkina Faso the 2016 EITI report showed that women held less than 3% of all jobs created by mining companies...

Several of the coalition research reports found glaring gaps between the relatively good national policy framework for advancing gender equality (e.g. via national gender plans and strategies), and the complete absence of any references to gender in the frameworks regulating extractive industries...

In conclusion, isolated gender projects like this one clearly cannot do the job of gender mainstreaming the broader EITI process on its own. Nevertheless, this research – as part of a longer PWYP gender project funded by the Hewlett Foundation – can maybe be a first trigger. In addition to taking stock and providing a baseline, it illustrates how women are not just potential victims or passive beneficiaries of extractive resources or economic opportunities in the sector; they are also forceful change makers...

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