The impact of IFFs and tax injustice in the extractives sector on young women are hinged on four pillars namely rights, voice, place, and power, The Nexus Between Illicit Financing Flows In The Extractives Sector In Zimbabwe and Young Women Report has revealed.
“Patriarchy and ageism when combined place young women in the shadows where they are powerless, cannot benefit from their natural resources and have no say when decisions are made, the report by African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) in partnership with Trust Africa said
“Contributing to solutions to tackle IFFs and tax justice is therefore hinged on amplifying young women’s voices, disrupting spaces, and confronting corporate and state power and upon young women leveraging their demographic dividend to demand their rights.”
Interestingly, while much attention is paid to gendered aspects of IFFs overall, there are very few studies exploring the extent to which young women are affected by and involved in IFFs,
The main implications uncovered impacts on women like the domino effect of IFFs in that they reduce revenues available to fund gender equality initiatives and gender responsive services.
Primary sources of data were relied on to unravel the impacts of IFFs on young women in Zimbabwe and to build upon the FEMNET’s findings and ongoing work
“Young women have largely suffered the disproportionate impacts of extractivism with limited benefits. Young women are the primary food producers in their households and they are responsible for the household care economy,” the report further stated.
“They rely on natural resources and the environment to put food on the table and to get revenues for household use. Due to lack of policy clarity, there is usually conflict between mining and agriculture.”
“Young women lose their livelihoods when mining starts since the Mines and Minerals Act seemingly supersedes all other Acts that underpin community development when minerals are discovered.”
The Report added, “This so despite the fact that the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20.27, Rural District Act (Chapter 29:13) and Water Act (Chapter 20.24) indicate priority should be given to environmentally sustainable land use initiatives.”
“The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill should address this issue through aligning the mining law Constitution with respect to environmental rights, 73(b) (iii) and section 13(4) which provides for the right to sustainable development out of use of natural resources.”
It went on to say that when IFFs diminish resources available for corporations to support community development initiatives, the corporations in fact end up not addressing some of the impacts of mining in the communities and young women are left to bear the brunt. Gender Based Violence experts have long established the link between food scarcity and increased domestic violence incidents.
“The young women interviewed linked their economic dependency to increasing cases of domestic violence. Loss of land and displacement to pave way for mining operations lead to loss of livelihoods and increase work burdens for women in providing for their families,” it said.
“It is difficult for young women to get formal employment in mining. Whilst patriarchal stereotypes denote that mine are no place for women, ageism usually results in young women being viewed as inexperienced workers condemning them to informal work with the poorest social and economic status along mining value chains.”
“The young women who are traditionally responsible for meeting the subsistence needs of families and are no longer able to do so due to loss of land, they can be forced to become economically dependent on men and the income derived from men’s formal employment.”
The study has linked IFFs to Gender Based Violence against young women in mining communities. The CEDAW Committee acknowledged that “Gender based
violence is a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men”.
The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) in partnership with Trust Africa in 2016 organized a strategic meeting to initiate discussions on quantifying IFFs impact and implications across Africa, and to propose political solutions to the issue.