Since WoMin’s launch in October 2013, we have made and continue to make important contributions to a sector (extractives/natural resources/ environmental justice) that is male-dominated, gender-blind/resistant and has substantially neglected a women’s rights perspective. WoMin has made these contributions in different ways:
We have built a visible and wide alliance of more than 60 organisations all interested in and committed to bringing a women’s rights or gender perspective to the extractives question.
Through this alliance we have undertaken a range of activities and projects (highlighted in the different sections of this website) which have helped to construct an alternative women’s rights analysis of the extractives sector, and extractivism as a development model.
We have moved beyond analysis to talk about post-extractivism, to address the development paradigm driving extractives, and have done so from a feminist perspective. This has posed a direct challenge to much of the thinking of organisations in the extractives and environmental justice sectors.
Moreover, when we began at the end of 2012 there were tiny pockets of work addressing mining and women/gender. Three years later, this work has expanded significantly, and while the political perspectives and strategies are greatly diverse, the existence of much of this new effort can in large part be attributed to the work of WoMin.
WoMin’s strategy for building the alliance has been twofold:
drawing in extractives and environmental justice organisations and helping them build a gender or women’s rights perspective into their work
drawing in/enabling women’s organising within and outside of the extractives sector.
Our efforts have definitely helped to trigger and support women’s organising at the grassroots level, and many of our allies have started to build relations with women’s rights organisations in their countries to advance women’s organising, training and campaigning on the extractives question. This intersected, or cross-sector/movement organising and collaboration is a powerful outcome and one we pursue throughout our work. However, we have had less success mobilising the more traditional women’s rights organisations to address the structural or economic dimensions of women’s exclusion, which the extractives and infrastructure work presents so starkly. Our three foci, namely energy, violence against women, and women’s consent/democratised socio-economic decision-making, present a thematic thrust which women and women’s rights organisations will find relevant to their work and interests.
WoMin has built its political strategy and focus through a highly participatory process with our allies – these processes include participatory research, the construction of civil society platforms, advocacy work, and exchanges with women’s collectives. These processes of building new knowledge and new skills was necessary given how ‘new’ the gender, women’s rights and extractives focus was to so many organisations gathered under the WoMin umbrella. We would not have been able to adopt clear and highly strategic areas of work without the efforts of the last two years. Our three content foci are owned by our allies, and are founded on a clear analysis of the structure and systems to be tackled through our efforts.
We have grown rapidly in a very short time, stimulating interest and commitment through our intensive outreach to dozens of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the region, through our activities that support women’s organising, skills and knowledge formation, and through our creative platforms for discussion and dialogue. We have evolved an approach to our work that is inspired by feminist principles and practices, supports our theory of change, and assists us realise our goals and outcomes. WoMin’s emerging approach is described in the section titled ‘Our Approach and Ways of Working’ and will continue to be reflected on and deepened as we, in concert with others, learn more about how the change we search for develops.
In three years, we have developed an organisational architecture which supports the participation of our allies and a high level of transparency and accountability in alliance decision-making. WoMin’s oversight forum, comprised of all WoMin’s country allies, meets every two years to review WoMin’s work and give strategic direction, building on the history of work and current commitments. WoMin’s allies are invited to participate in one or more working group on areas of content. The WoMin Trust is accountable to the Oversight Forum which oversees its work and elects its members. The WoMin Director reports to and is directly accountable to the Board of Trustees.