Business News of 2014-01-24

‘Address gender issues in oil and gas sector’

ABANTU for Development, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and women’s right and policy advocate, has called on the government to address critical issues relating to gender equity in the oil and gas sector.

It said there were critical issues on gender in the oil and gas value chain that should equally engage the attention of policy makers, the private sector and civil societies.

Currently, the oil and gas value chain in Ghana focuses, particularly, on scientific, technical and economic issues.

In response to the numerous concerns regarding the gender and social responsiveness of the oil and gas sector, ABANTU has formulated gender mainstreaming guidelines for the oil and gas industry to be considered by policy makers.

Platform for stakeholders

The Programme Officer for ABANTU, Mrs Gertrude Owusu, gave a hint of the guidelines in an address at a seminar organised to offer stakeholders the platform to validate the draft guidelines.

“Despite the work done by some civil societies as part of contributions to community-level engagements on the importance of the oil find as far as the livelihoods of people in some selected communities are concerned, there is yet no policy commitment and direction in developing the needed gender framework that can address the gender gaps and achieve concrete benefits for people in different social groups with reference to the oil and gas industry,” she noted.

Project partners

She said the document, which was yet to be confirmed, was formulated in collaboration with the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA) Ghana, Women in Law and Development Africa (WiLDAF) and the Network for Women’s Right in Ghana (NETRIGHT) and funded by STAR-Ghana.

Mrs Owusu said the initiative was part of their collaborative one-year project on “women’s agency strengthened to demand accountability, equity and transparency from industry actors for improved livelihoods.”

Key guidelines

The Programmes Manager of ABANTU, Mrs Ellen Dzah, in her presentation on the draft guidelines, said the national policy for development, governance and management of oil and gas resources should be undertaken with the overall commitment to social and gender equality, with specific and differential needs, interest and concerns of men and women taken into account.

Mrs Dzah said according to the draft, policy makers should create the space for women and other marginalised groups in the oil and gas sector.

She said that would ensure that there was equity in the sector in terms of gender.

Participants in the workshop called on the government to intensify the activities of civil societies in policy making.

They also said their recommendations should inform policy making.

About ABANTU

ABANTU's work is aimed at increasing women’s participation in decision making and influencing policy making.

ABANTU also seeks to strengthen NGOs to be more effective actors in the policy-making processes.

It does this through research about women’s experiences and participation in policy making, training and advice for organisational strengthening and information on mobilising resources.