Strengthening Women’s Role in the Afghan Mining Sector

A three-day gender workshop for 20 staff of Herat’s Department of Mines and Petroleum (DoMP) ended today. The event took place in the city of Herat and focused on the role of gender in the Afghan mining sector. The Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum’s (MoMP’s) Gender Unit conducted the workshop. The Afghan-German Cooperation’s programme to promote good governance in the Afghan extractive sector (MinGov) supported the event financially.

At International Women’s Day celebrations earlier this year, Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Ms Nargis Nehan, announced, ‘The role of women in the mining sector should change from symbolic to real, active and qualitative participation in the near future. We should have at least 30 percent female staff within the MoMP and its provincial departments.’

Herat is one of the country’s most developed provinces and offers educational opportunities for both, women and men. However, at the province’s DoMP, only two out of 40 staff are women. One attendee emphasised, ‘Gender-related awareness will facilitate the sector’s development and improve the working environment at the DoMPs.’

The workshop addressed women’s current status in the Afghan mining sector and outlined their potential contribution to its development. With proper education, women could perform any duty related to mining governance and mines management – vast potential that has not been tapped yet.

Participants discussed gender and related concepts such as sources of organisational discrimination, gender equality at work, suitable means of communication, the concept of mutual respect, and the integration of gender in ministerial policies. They also learned about the National Action Plan for Women in Afghanistan (NAPWA) and the Afghan law on the prohibition of harassment against women and children.

The newly acquired knowledge shall help participants to avoid discrimination and gender bias at the MoMP and its provincial departments. This includes recruitment procedures, day-to-day work, as well as opportunities for training and personal development. By setting an example within its own structures, the MoMP aims at motivating the private sector to employ more women and facilitate their participation in mining as well, promoting Afghanistan’s sustainable development.

The programme Promoting Good Governance in the Extractive Sector in Afghanistan (MinGov) is being implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). To fully leverage the Afghan mining sector’s potential, the programme aims at increasing state revenues, promoting investment and fighting corruption in the sector. The project trains stakeholders to ensure that mining activities are carried out transparently and according to law as well as international health and environmental standards. Among other activities, the project has organised 21 training courses on topics such as mine planning, mining economics and mining supervision for more than 310 mining inspectors and other employees at the Minis-try of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) and provincial authorities since 2013. At the same time, the programme has financed 13 scholarships for Afghan women to promote female participation in the sector. The programme further supports the Afghan Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (AEITI) to promote transparency and fight corruption.