EITI implementing countries are finding innovative ways to contribute to gender equality in the governance of their oil, gas and mining resources. This brief identifies how gender relates to the EITI mission.
The EITI contributes to gender equality by:
- Improving governance of the extractive sector and mobilising revenues
- Promoting equal and meaningful participation of women and men in the management of the sector
- Fostering dialogue and improving access to data on the sector.
Corruption and mismanagement of natural resource wealth can have gender-differentiated consequences. Research demonstrates that corruption and bad governance impede women from reaching high positions in business and politics. The extractive industries can also have significant social, economic and environmental impacts on host communities. This ranges from changes in the natural environment to access to jobs, changes in the cost of living and traditional social dynamics. Men and women often experience these changes differently. Extractives projects can have gender-skewed impacts that disfavor women. Women are sometimes excluded from consultations and decision-making by companies and governments around natural resources projects. As a result, their concerns and interests are not adequately considered, further exacerbating the disproportionate effects of natural resources projects’ impacts on women and vulnerable stakeholder groups.
The EITI principles underline the importance of accountability to all citizens for the stewardship of revenue streams and public expenditure. In light of this, it is important to recognise and address structural barriers that impede women, girls and other marginalized groups from equally contributing to and benefitting from sustainable natural resource management as well as potential gender impacts of extractive activities.
HOW GENDER RELATES TO THE EITI MISSION
Well-managed natural resources can lead to sustainable development and contribute to gender equality. There are different ways in which the EITI can empower women and support their participation and leadership in the sector and ensure that they can contribute as equal stakeholders in the many decisions that relate to the management of natural resources.
1. Improving governance of the extractive sector and mobilising revenues
Mismanagement and corruption in the extractive sector affect men and women in different ways. Economic distortions caused by mismanaged wealth in resource-rich countries may result in missed opportunities to improve social spending on issues such as health and education. Lack of services to care for the elderly, children and the sick typically lead to women staying at home to undertake unpaid care work. Decisions relating to natural resource governance and how revenues from the sector are mobilised and spent have a great impact on women and girls in situations where gender inequalities restrict their mobility and economic opportunity.
Increased revenues from the extractive sector allow governments to provide public services and social protection that promote gender equality. Revenue mobilisation from oil, gas and mining also ease pressure on other forms of taxation, including indirect taxes. The gender effect of improved revenue collection from the extractive industries is amplified by the fact that ownership of oil, gas and mining companies is disproportionately male.
Moreover, women are often not consulted in the design and implementation of extractive industry projects and frequently face discrimination on employment and compensation matters. This can worsen gender inequalities, increase risks for marginalized groups, and lead to women not benefiting equally from economic growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction when compared to men. The EITI is a tool to improve management of a country’s natural resources. The EITI Standard requires transparency in license allocation, production monitoring, revenue collection, revenue allocation and the social and economic impact of extracting resources. Each of these elements can be made more effective through use of gender-based analysis at the country level to identify barriers to equal participation and ways risks and benefits can be shared equitably.
Implementing countries are also encouraged to collect information on who ultimately owns oil, gas and mining companies to reduce fiscal evasion; disclose contracts and publish revenue data by project. Project-level reporting will assist communities to hold governments and companies to account, by allowing comparison between payments to governments resulting from an oil, gas or mining project at specific sites as well as the specific fiscal, legal and contractual terms for the project. The EITI helps implementing countries secure a fair share of the resource revenues by disclosing key information about the governance of the sector annually and making recommendations for improving collection of revenues from the sector. This way, EITI implementation can empower women to ask questions about how the government is using their oil, gas and mining revenues.
2. Promoting equal and meaningful participation by women and men in the management of the sector
Gender inequalities can be exacerbated when women are excluded from natural resource management or face barriers to their full and equal participation. Decision-making process in the governance and management of the extractive sector must be inclusive; to ensure that the views of women and the most vulnerable and marginalized members of communities impacted by the sector are taken into account.
National EITI processes are managed by multi-stakeholder groups (MSGs) comprising government, companies and civil society. EITI MSGs are involved in shaping the governance of the oil, gas and mining sectors in implementing countries. In other instances, MSGs participate in consultations on sector-specific legislation such as mining and petroleum codes. For example, the EITI has helped communities in Madagascar understand and monitor resource revenues they should receive from central government. Participation in these multi-stakeholder groups provides women with access to public decision-making in EITI implementing countries.
In some EITI Implementing countries there is a large gender imbalance in the composition of the MSGs. For example, the MSG was all male in Cote d’Ivoire and Yemen in 2015. EITI’s guidance on MSG governance encourages greater consideration of gender equality on these multi-stakeholder groups.
3. Fostering dialogue and improving data accessibility
The EITI Principles recognise that “a public understanding of government revenues and expenditure over time [can] help public debate and inform choice of appropriate and realistic options for sustainable development” (EITI Principle 4). Providing access to government data can empower individuals, the media, civil society, and business to make better-informed choices about the services they receive and the standards they should expect.
In countries where information is not being made available by governments and companies in an open and accessible format, citizens might face challenges in understanding and using the data. Cultural and social barriers and higher illiteracy rates can create additional challenges for women to engage with data and participate in the technology sector. The high cost of information and communications technology and mobile data may keep women, who generally earn less than men, offline. Moreover, time poverty, the gender pay gap and unpaid labour create economic obstacles for women to engage with digital technology.
The EITI Requirements related to outcomes and impact seek to ensure that stakeholders are engaged in dialogue about natural resource revenue management. EITI Reports lead to disclosure of valuable information and contributes to inform a wider public debate. The multi-stakeholder group is required to ensure that the EITI Report is comprehensible, actively promoted, publicly accessible and contributes to public debate.
An important first step to improving women’s participation in the sector is access to data. EITI implementing countries are required to prepare open data policies. Implementing countries such as Colombia, Kazakhstan, Senegal and the Philippines are leaders in visualizing data in graphics and charts that are more easily understandable by citizens in our implementing countries. These tools, coupled with EITI capacity building efforts, can help improve access to and understanding of the dynamics of the sector to marginalized groups.
The EITI has provided a space for women as users of data on extractive industries. EITI countries produce annual reports with information on the process for allocating licenses and the subnational transfers to local communities amongst others. Accessible information is a key step in having an informed debate on the use of extractive revenues in their communities. A more gendered approach to data accessibility could include targeted efforts to ensure equal access to information and discussions related to what data to disclose and how.
THE EITI SUPPORTS THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
EITI’s own mission is aligned with many of the targets set out in the SDGs. The sustainable development goal 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
By promoting women’s participation and leadership in the extractive sector, EITI can improve governance and transparency and empower women to ensure their rights are respected. Participation of women in activities and programmes at an international, regional and community level with due awareness of the local context can increase gender equality and have spill-over effects in society as a whole.
Opportunities for EITI to contribute to gender equality:
- The EITI, at the global and national level, could advance women’s leadership in the governance and management of natural resources sector and ensure that women participate in the consultation and decision-making processes involved in overseeing implementation of the EITI. This could include reaching out to women’s organisations and networks to include them in EITI processes at all levels.
- In developing the objectives for EITI implementation and writing their work plans, multi-stakeholder groups can consider how the development of the extractive industries can contribute towards achieving gender equality (SDG 5), and the opportunities for the EITI to promote gender equality.
- EITI multi-stakeholder groups can consider opportunities to collect gender-disaggregated data in the extractive industries (employment, local procurement, training, etc.) where relevant and disclose this information publicly. EITI multi-stakeholder groups can be encouraged to conduct and document activities aimed at gender equality in their annual progress reports and other materials. Furthermore, EITI MSGs could consider undertaking outreach and capacity building targeting women’s groups on how to track payments made to governments from the extractive industry.
- EITI Validation can consider the impact of the EITI on gender equality where appropriate and relevant.
The EITI International Secretariat will continue to raise awareness, promote discussion and learning, and document case studies and impact stories related to gender equality.
 MSI Integrity. Protecting the Cornerstone: http://www.msi-integrity.org/assessing-eiti-msg-governance/