Cecilia Campero, Alessia Rodriguez, Leila M. Harris, and Nadja Kunz published a report titled “APEC Women’s Participation in the Mining Industry” for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy.
Executive Summary: This project focuses primarily on the effects of mining on women, in the context of general interest in gender dynamics important for mining projects and impacts. Women’s participation in the mining industry through direct employment is relatively small, and those who enter the sector tend to remain at the bottom of the organizational hierarchy. Furthermore, women do not always benefit from mining to the extent we might expect, while women’s contributions to the mining sector both in large-scale and in artisanal and small-scale mining remains frequently overlooked. Similarly, the role and value of women from mining communities often remain invisible or unaddressed.
APEC economies, through APEC’s Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE), supported the “APEC Women’s Participation in the Mining Industry” project. This project, developed by an interdisciplinary research team at The University of British Columbia, was designed to begin to address a range of gender and mining-related challenges. Our goal is to provide insights regarding (1) gender disparities concerning the economic participation of women in the mining industry in APEC economies; (2) the challenges faced by women and girls living within communities affected by mining operations; and (3) the experiences of existing networks that focus on supporting women in mining. While many other considerations might be important for a broader understanding of the intersection between gender and mining, our effort represents an initial step in this regard.
In order to achieve these goals, the team conducted a literature review followed by an online survey (26 participants) and a series of interviews (4 participants) of selected organizations operating at different scales (local and domestic) in six APEC economies: Australia; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Papua New Guinea, and; Peru. Ultimately, following from this work, we hope to identify existing activities and policy interventions that have been carried out by organizations to support women who work within the mining sector and those whose lives are critically affected by mining activities. Such further work will be required to develop and enhance a set of policy recommendations for APEC businesses and governments to work toward the economic empowerment of women in this sector.
The enthusiasm and commitment shown by the participants in this project have demonstrated that APEC’s support of women’s empowerment and inclusion across all levels and career life cycle stages within the mining industry is essential. There continues to be a need to increase research to advance equitable development further, thereby improving the social and economic well-being of women and their capacity to directly contribute to their communities and economies.