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SDG5: Gender Equality

With our strong focus on sustainable development there is great potential for ICMM to support the mining and metals industry in making an important and lasting contribution towards the UN’s global goals. We work with members and partners to catalyse lasting social and economic progress that supports an end to poverty, protects the planet and ensures prosperity for all.

SDG5 calls for an end to all forms of discrimination against women and girls, an end to gender violence, and full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life. 

While significant progress was made towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Millennium Development Goals (including equal access to primary education for girls and boys), women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a sustainable world. Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will promote sustainable economies and benefit societies at large.

How is this relevant to mining and metals?

There is gender inequality in how the benefits as well as the adverse impacts of mining are experienced. In general, the benefits (in terms of employment and economic opportunities) tend to accrue to men whereas women bear a disproportionate burden of impacts – which in extreme cases can include violence. Mining companies have a responsibility to ensure gender equality, as it relates to both the workforce and to communities. This requires companies to actively recognise women’s rights to property and resources, include women as stakeholders in land acquisition, resettlement and consultation processes, and build inclusive access to jobs and economic opportunities.

What companies need to know to manage impacts or make a positive contribution

  1. The gender dynamics in local communities at an operational level and the cultural parameters for actively seeking to strengthen women’s roles (for example in decision-making).

  2. How their activities or presence creates risks of adverse impacts on women and how they can ensure that these risks are adequately addressed.

  3. Existing initiatives led by others to promote gender equality and how to align with these efforts to strengthen gender equality.

Minimising negative impacts

Maximising positive contributions

  • Recognise women’s rights to resources and property.

  • Actively include women in community engagement processes, especially those relating to land acquisition and resettlement.

  • Ensure gender parity by providing equal pay for equal work across the company.

  • Address vulnerability and gender-based violence in the community or workplace.

  • Make a clear statement in support of gender equality for women and girls.

  • Take steps to recruit and retain female employees and make the workplace a safe place for women.

  • Promote more women to visible leadership positions.

  • Establish gender-sensitive grievance mechanisms.