Samantha Hargreaves from WoMin - an African gender and extractives alliance - speaks to Andrew Dey from WRI about the links between gender, extractive industries and militarism in Africa, and what this new network is doing to counter it.
Tell us about your work – what is Womin, when did you form, and who makes up your network? What are the critical issues you are working on?
Samantha: WoMin was launched in October 2013. We work with about 50 allied organisations in fourteen countries across Southern, East and West Africa. Most partners are working on issues of land, natural resources, extractive industries, environmental and climate justice and women’s rights. Our work with women rights organisations has generally been challenged by their focus to more 'traditional' gender issues like violence against women, women and girl child education and health, with a small number working on the terrain of environment, land and other economic justice questions.
WoMin has a secretariat based in South Africa and a governing body representing all of the sub-regions we work in. Linking extractive industries, environmental and climate change and women’s rights is quite ground-breaking; in 2013 we found no organisations working directly on these intersections in Africa, and very few working on the same at the national level. WoMin is therefore filling an important political gap – we support women’s movement building which brings in an important economic and environmental perspective and we promote proposals addressing the developmental changes needed from a combined African, feminist, economic and eco/climate justice perspective.
WoMin Southern African women and coal exchange. Photo: Heidi Augestad