Promoting Women’s Role in the Extractive Sector

Today, employees of the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DoMP) completed a three-day workshop in Feyzabad, Badakhshan on the role of gender in the mining sector. Seventeen DoMP staff, including three women, as well as two female representatives of the Ministry of Women Affairs participated in the event, which was organised by the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum’s (MoMP) Gender Unit. The Afghan-German Cooperation’s programme Promoting Good Governance in the Extractive Sector in Afghanistan (MinGov) supported the event financially.

At the International Women’s Day celebrations earlier this year, Afghan Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Ms Nargis Nehan, emphasised the role of women in the mining sector. She explained that the role of women will change from being merely symbolic to becoming effective in the near future, with female employees making up at least 30 percent of the workforce at MoMP and its provincial departments.

At present, the number of female professionals in Afghanistan’s mining industry and relevant government institutions is deficient. In total, 22 staff work at Badakhshan’s DoMP and only three are women. One female attendee emphasised, ‘The general view in the mining sector is that it is only a male domain and that women should not be involved. But hopefully such workshops will change this and help to increase the acceptance of women in the mining sector.’

The workshop aimed at raising gender awareness among the employees and addressed women’s current status in the Afghan mining sector. Participants discussed gender and related topics such as sources of organisational discrimination, gender equality at work, the concept of mutual respect, and the integration of gender in ministerial policies. They also learned about the National Action Plan for Women in Afghanistan (NAPWA) and the Afghan law on the prohibition of harassment against women and children.

The newly acquired knowledge will help participants avoid discrimination and gender bias at the MoMP and its provincial departments. By setting an example within its own structures, the MoMP aims at motivating the private sector to employ more women and facilitate their participation in mining, promoting Afghanistan’s sustainable development.

The programme Promoting Good Governance in the Extractive Sector in Afghanistan (MinGov) is being implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). To fully leverage the Afghan mining sector’s potential, the programme aims at increasing state revenues, promoting investment and fighting corruption in the sector. The project trains stakeholders to ensure that mining activities are carried out transparently and according to law as well as international health and environmental standards. Among other activities, the project has organised 21 training courses on topics such as mine planning, mining economics and mining supervision for more than 310 mining inspectors and other employees at the Minis-try of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) and provincial authorities since 2013. At the same time, the programme has financed 13 scholarships for Afghan women to promote female participation in the sector. The programme further supports the Afghan Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (AEITI) to promote transparency and fight corruption.