By Joyce Remi-Babayeju
As Nigeria marks the 2023 International Women’s Day, IWD, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has renewed its call for a deliberate policy to increase women’s participation in the oil, gas, and mining industries.
The Executive Secretary, NEITI Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, made this call today in a statement released in Abuja in commemoration and salute Nigerian women of the International Women’s Day.
Dr Orji expressed regret that despite the enormous potentials and capacity of Nigerian women in skills acquisition, and knowledge in mining and geosciences, the oil gas and mining industries are still being wrongly perceived as business for men.
The NEITI Executive Secretary boss said, ” A close look at data on gender from the NEITI’s last Solid Minerals Independent Industry Reports shows that out of 102 companies covered by NEITI process, only 29 companies provided information and data on gender participation and employment opportunities in relation to women, adding that the report also. shows that
out of the 5,820 employees, only 14% of are women.
According to him, in the Oil and gas industry, the ratio of men to women in terms of investments participation, job opportunities and beneficial ownership of oil and gas assets are even worse.
The NEITI Executive Secretary, reiterated the Agency’s commitment to work with women and to remove structural barriers that impede women, girls, and other vulnerable groups from participating in sustainable natural resource management and other potential gender impacts of extractive activities.
Dr. Orji disclosed that NEITI has concluded a scoping research study to enhance gender equity and inclusiveness in managing the country’s diverse extractive sector and the environmental impact on women and their livelihoods.
“The study focused on the impact of mining in our communities through the prism of gender inclusivity and impact.”
“The Research also looked at the employment opportunities, ownership structure and the implications for decision-making and benefit sharing for women in the mining industry.’
The two reports are to be released before the end of the Month” Dr Orji, further disclosed.
Meanwhile, the NEITI Executive Secretary while saluting the courage, sacrifice and valued contribution of Nigerian women, urged them to take interest in the NEITI reports and use the contents to demand a just, fair and active gender equity in natural resource governance in Nigeria.
Dr. Orji said, “Except women are involved and understand the contents of the reports and the values that brings to pushing the boundaries of opportunities in their favour through information and data, they cannot appreciate the need to use information and data in NEITI reports to hold the government, companies and the larger society accountable.”
Notable allies in the nation’s Extractive sector to drive the process include non-governmental organizations, NGOs such as Women in Extractive, Women in Mining in Nigeria, Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria (APWEN) and the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ among others.
These are organisations in the sector, driven by reputable Women with track records gathered overtime in the extractive sector reforms and governance.
Daybreak reports that the International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 to raise attention o issues like gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.
The Theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.