Gender & Extractives Convention – Uganda (21-22/07/2015)

WOMEN ENGAGEMENT IN EXTRACTIVES BENEFITS FAMILY, COMMUNITY AND THE COUNTRY
KAMPALA, 21 JULY, 2015: Global Rights Alert (GRA) will for the next two days; the 21st & 22nd of July 2015 bring together experts and participants in the oil, gas and mining industry to discuss the role of women in sustainable exploitation and development in Uganda. The convention brings together policy makers, the business community, environmental actors, legal professionals, human rights activists and host communities involved in oil, gas and mining in Africa.

While the discovery of oil and other mineral resources promises benefits for Uganda such as better infrastructure, education, health and better income per capita, women are continuously left at the tail end of the mining resource benefits. They (women) are increasingly left out of better employment in the extractives industry, left on the fringes to pick up gold crumbs as small scale artisan miners, tea sellers in oil mining fields while others are exploited as sex workers.

“Governments often assume that men and women will be equally and similarly impacted by EI. However there are clear cut variations to this with women more vulnerable to the risks that come with these developing industries. If these are overlooked, the implications of this industry will continue to discriminate against women with heavy repercussions for families and communities”, Winfred Ngabiirwe- Executive Director Global Rights Alert.

Women working in Uganda’s oil sector constitute just 9.4% of the total labour unit. A lot of the women (especially in the rural areas) lack basic education, training and opportunities to fully participate in the sector and to improve their economic and social lives. Yet even the available scholarships and/ or other opportunities to improve skills are going mainly to their male counterparts who fill up not only the labour intensive jobs but also the administrative jobs.

Research by the World Bank shows that women who are in a position to fend for themselves spend at least 80 percent of their contribution towards creating a better future for themselves, their children, and the community. Without access to education, to health care, to financial resources, women cannot assure their own development, nor contribute to the development of their families and communities.

It against this background that GRA has brought together all stake holders on the same round table to forge a way forward on how government can ensure that women are included in the mining sector.

At the end of the convention, GRA seeks to emphasise the importance of adding to the number of women in higher level jobs. Adding onto a list of remarkable women like Proscovia Nabbanja, a Senior Geologist at Petroleum Exploration and Production Department and Pauline Irene Batebe a Petroleum Refining Officer. These should not be an exemption to the rule; more women can and should be managing the mining sector.

The convention will also act as a platform for such women to come out and speak out about their contributions to the industry; showcase their talent. It is our hope that government will formulate and strengthen frameworks that will not only seek to empower and engage women in the mining sector but protect them from exploitation.

ABOUT GRA
Global Rights Alert is a human rights- civil society organization based in Kampala. Formed in 2008, (GRA) has grown to become one of the leading organizations in Natural Resource governance in Uganda. At GRA, we believe that Access to Information, Participation and Justice are basic foundations of democracies all over the world.
We believe that enjoyment of these rights is key to creating a transparent and accountable Extractives industry that will contribute to sustainable development.

Find out more about GRA’s gender & Extractives initiatives here

For more information contact:
Flavia Nalubega, Communications Officer, GLOBAL RIGHTS ALERT
TEL. +256 414 531 661 EMAIL: fnalubega@globalrightsalert.org;www.globalrightsalert.org

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