In Nigeria, women face systemic discrimination in all phases of the extractive industry. The entrenched gender bias not only prevents women from engaging in and accessing economic benefits, but also manifests in how companies and governments engage with communities at all stages of extractive activities. The mineral and mining Act 2007 which guides processes and procedures in the sector is gender blind, and as a result, company–community consultation and decision-making are done in alienation of women and their perspectives. The result is increasing gender inequality and the further disempowerment of women.
The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD) in sync with the government’s determination to reform the extractive industry and diversify revenue sources to include non-oil revenue, implemented the Strengthening Civic Engagement and Advocacy for Effective Natural Resource Governance in Nigeria Project. The aim was to mobilize citizens to participate in the governance of natural resources for the mineral sector to contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Product. During the implementation of this project, emphasis was not placed on the gender dimensions of the impact and benefits of the extractives on humans as the effect on men varies from effects on women and children. For example, as land is expropriated for extractive industry projects, so are the family farms that women often manage. These farms give women the ability to earn income, some level of independence and decision-making power in the household and community. But women can lose this influence when their livelihoods are lost because of extractive industries projects. At the same time, men’s influence can increase significantly when they are employed and receive incomes from extractive projects.
To address these anomalies, Centre LSD is implementing another project, still in the extractive sector, specifically looking at how to integrate gender in its extractive work. To lay the foundation and baseline for this new intervention, the Centre is commissioning a research on the forms and prevalence of gender-based violence in the extractive sector in Nigeria. This research will lay the basis for advocating for women’s inclusion and participation in the governance of natural resources in Nigeria.