The mining, oil and gas industries generate millions of jobs in our region. However, it is one of the most male dominate industries. In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), women represent less than 10% of workers in mining and less than 15% of direct and indirect employment in the oil and gas industries.
In the mining sector in Peru, for example, half of the women working in the industry assume administrative positions, 30% work in general operations (technical jobs) and only 4% assume management positions. (MEM, 2016)
According to a recently published IDB study, female talent is one of the most underutilized resources in our region. Promoting the participation of women in extractive industries, especially because they have little representation, can improve their decision-making and income, and by using the growing source of female talent, will generate sustainable growth and inclusive development for industries and countries.
For women to position themselves as leaders in the extractive sector, they must constantly break cultural barriers, and institutions must provide an enabling environment that not only recruits but also keeps them, allowing for more women in managerial positions.
Having more women in the workplace generates 44% more return on capital, and 47% more in profit margins for those who include women in their boards of directors. However, only 3% of the industries in the region (of various sectors, not limited to extractives) surveyed by the IDB included gender diversity in the process of nominating their boards of directors.
To truly strengthen female talent in our region, industries need to proactively manage salary equality, recruitment and promotion practices, training and mentoring, provide flexible work arrangements and an entrepreneurial culture that allow more women to obtain better jobs and to be promoted.
As part of its growing gender work in the region, and its campaign “100% committed to gender equality“, the Inter-American Development Bank is launching, with the support of the Government of Canada, the first “Program for Emerging Women Leaders of the Extractive Sector “, in Peru on May 22, 2018.
The objective of the Program is to empower, make visible and strengthen the leadership skills of women with high potential in the management in the extractive sector.
This is the first time that the Program will be applied to a specific sector, combining middle management women from public and private spheres, who work in the mining, oil and gas industries in the country. This program lasts six months and will train 15 women from the public sector (Ministry of Mining and its regulatory agencies) and 15 women from the private sector (national and international mining and oil companies) in Lima.
The Emerging Women Leaders Program was born in 2013 as one of the IDB’s efforts to have at least 40% of women in managerial levels by 2015 working in the Bank. With this Program, as well as with other initiatives, the Bank reached 38% in 2015; however, the commitment is still ongoing with a new goal of 43% women in the leadership position by 2019.
To date, the Program has been delivered 6 times and more than 162 emerging women leaders have participated. As a result, 52% of women have been promoted and 38% have assumes short-term job rotations that allow them to expand their skills. In addition, the Program has been carried out in Panama and the Dominican Republic for the public sector.
The IDB, through its Initiative for the Extractive Sector, aims to promote effective multi-stakeholder collaboration processes. By combining emerging women leaders from the private and public sectors in Peru’s extractive industry, the Program seeks to promote more women in managerial positions and serve as a multi-actor collaborative platform that can take advantage of existing national initiatives and promote gender equality.
The Extractive Sector Initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank will continue to explore key issues such as gender equality, as a goodwill broker, through its growing work to improve sector governance, promote gender equality and inclusion through best practices and social, environmental and economic policy recommendations related to the mining, gas and oil sectors in Latin America and the Caribbean.
María Dolores Vallenilla is Consultant in Gender Equality and M&E of the Initiative for the Extractive Sector at the Inter-American Development Bank.