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The evidence is clear: enabling greater equality of opportunities for women and men in the infrastructure and natural resources sector has great rewards. Even though women are a growing segment of the world’s workforce, most infrastructure and natural resources-related activities in leadership, employment, supply chain, and decision-making continue to be male-dominated. It is not just the companies that benefit when gender equality is facilitated, but also women, families, communities, and ultimately the countries.
IFC’s Sustainable Infrastructure Advisory’s work has a strong focus on increasing opportunities for women. We work to enhance the role of women as leaders and employees, as entrepreneurs across the supply chain, and as involved and represented community members. Women are also the customers and users of infrastructure services, and by creating these opportunities, we introduce avenues for capacity-building and the strengthening of potential corporate partnerships. We work with our clients to develop opportunities to increase gender equality in their operations by strengthening the capacity of clients, communities, and project teams to implement gender smart solutions. It involves creating and developing tools, business case studies, and generating other knowledge products which leverage previous experience.
Companies that recognize the importance of a more diverse workforce have reported positive rewards: stronger supply chain network, improved community/customer engagement, increased productivity, reduction in costs, better customer satisfaction and strengthened social license to operate.
IFC’s partnership with the government of Canada supports local economic development in oil, gas, and mining communities in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, and Kenya. Gender is a central theme of the projects under this partnership and the gender assessments conducted in each country are informing the development of activities to build opportunities and capacity for women to engage in natural resource and other industry supply chains.
This report provides oil, gas and mining companies with tools to increase gender equality at all levels of the workforce. The tool advocates for an increase in the representation of women-owned businesses in the supply chain; an improvement in engagement with women in impacted communities; and a reduction in incidences of gender-based violence in the workforce.
In Cameroon, IFC supports the Nachtigal Hydropower Company (NHPC) as it seeks to source goods and services locally, improve community engagement, and address critical issues such as livelihood restitution and workforce demobilization. A cross-cutting focus of IFC’s two-year technical assistance program with NHPC is how to mainstream gender inclusion and empowerment across community focused activities and improve gender diversity in the project’s workforce. The goals are to improve social license, safeguard and benefit local women, and achieve positive business impacts.
This partnership between IFC and the Canadian government is using a collaborative, public-private model to support farmer families in mining communities in Peru. The farmers are being trained to adopt improved agricultural, nutritional and health practices. The training and capacity building which the local women have received has enabled them to utilize new agricultural technologies. It has also had a far-reaching impact on the quality of life and the empowerment of the women, giving them a greater voice in the decision-making regarding their families’ productive assets.
Unlocking Opportunities for Women and Business: A Toolkit of Actions and Strategies for Oil, Gas, and Mining Companies has been adapted into a training module. This training module has been implemented with partners in Côte d’Ivoire and is also being adapted for use in other countries and contexts globally.
The Canada-IFC Benefit Sharing in Natural Resources program has had a positive impact on women working in the Fisheries sector in Ghana. These women are being equipped with basic business skills while district assemblies in the country are also being trained on how to increase the participation of women in decision-making at the local level.
The Canada-IFC Apurímac Mining and Agriculture Project has had a positive impact on participating women and their families. There has been an increase in household incomes, a reduction in food insecurity and an overall improvement in livelihoods.