Mining and Gender Justice

VIVAT addresses Gender in Relation to Mining at the Commission on the Status of Women

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) convenes annually in New York to discuss and encourage gender equality and the advancement of women worldwide.  This year, from March 1-12, the CSW undertakes a special fifteen-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which contained milestone commitments to the world’s women. The review is seen as an important step in overcoming the remaining obstacles and new challenges faced by women, including those related to the Millennium Development Goals.

VIVAT, with the Working Group on Mining, is participating in the CSW by addressing key gender-related issues in the area of mining.  The Working Group organized a parallel event to the Commission that specifically targeted discussion on the struggles of rural and indigenous women negatively affected by mining practices worldwide, through a DVD clip and presentations by two panelists, the event pushing the necessity of “Free, Prior, and Informed Consent”.  The Working Group on Mining hopes to bring to light the egregious negative impacts of mining in relation to women, indigenous peoples, and the environment to the international arena.  With these hopes, VIVAT and the Working Group plans on holding two more parallel events during the remaining Commissions and Forums later this year on indigenous peoples’ rights and on sustainable development.

The Impacts of Mining on Women:

Mining has distinct impacts and added burden on women.

The women are deprived of the access to the benefits of mining developments, especially money and employment.

Women become marginalized as the traditional roles of food gatherer, water providers, care- givers and nurturer are very much affected.

Many women are pushed to enter into informal economy to find additional sources of income as the adverse impact to the environment caused by large-scale mining decrease the productivity of the fields and poisoned wild foods, marine life and animals.

Alcohol abuse, drug addiction, prostitution, gambling, incest and infidelity increase in many mining communities which worsen cases of family violence against women, active and often brutal discrimination of the women in the workplace that is sanctioned or ignored by judicial and political institution.

FPIC: Indigenous Peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) has been recognized by a number of intergovernmental organizations, international bodies, conventions and international human rights law in varying degrees and increasingly in the laws of State.