On Thursday, 13th October, 2016, the International Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS) organized a workshop to review preliminary findings made by the Principal Investigator, Dr. William Baah-Boateng for the Project dubbed “Growth in West Africa: assessing impacts of extractive industry on women’s economic empowerment in Cote d’Ivoire & Ghana”. This event brought together stakeholders from academia, governmental agencies and extractive sector-based institutions.
Dr. William Baah-Boateng giving an overview of the Research Project
The workshop was chaired by Ms. Francisca Atuluk, an Assistant Director of the Research, Statistics and Information Management unit of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. She lauded the institute and funders of the Project, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) for embarking on a research project that has the ultimate aim of empowering women in an industry that is dominated by men.
Before presenting the preliminary findings made using secondary data, Dr. Baah-Boateng reiterated that IIAS believes in the empowerment of women, thus the focus on women in mining. He indicated that the research project was worth embarking on given that the sustained growth experienced in the last two decades has been mainly driven by the Extractive Industry (EI). To him, based on this growth trajectory, the following questions need to be asked: “Is this growth process ensuring all-inclusiveness? Does the benefits accrue to all including women?
In analysing the secondary data, Dr. Baah-Boateng used both descriptives (tables, graphs) and Econometric estimation. Key among the findings made was that despite the significant contribution (8%) of the EI to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Ghana, it employs only 200,000 workers. He further showed that a higher proportion of men (2.8%) than women (1%) are engaged in mining. “For all workers in the extractive industry, women constitute a fifth (19%) with majority of them being men (81%)” he noted. With regard to earnings which is one of the important metrics in determining economic empowerment, he observed that women in extractives earn on average 75% of what their male counterparts earn. On the type of jobs held by women in extractives, he showed that they are mostly concentrated in elementary occupations as against men who occupy prestigious positions, thus not better-placed to benefit from windfalls.
Dr. Baah-Boateng clarifying results generated from secondary data
Dr. Baah-Boateng crowned the presentations with analysis of an econometric estimation that seeks to decompose the wage differences between men and women into a part that is explained by differences in observable characteristics and an unexplained part which is used as a measure for possible discrimination. From analysis made, he concluded that the unexplained part account for a whopping 76% of the gender earning differentials and are in favour of men. He therefore opined that the collection of primary data through focus discussions, interviews with policy makers and employers will help to investigate what may account for the huge unexplained part.
Participants giving a big round of applause after the presentation
After the presentation of the preliminary findings, questions were posed by some participants present. Others commented on the methodology and framework used with a call for the definition of women economic empowerment for the project to be underpinned by what prevails in theoretical literature. Inputs were also made by representatives from mining and allied organisations on what pertains in the mines particularly in relation to women mineworkers.
In attendance at the workshop were Prof. Abena Oduro, Director, Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS), University of Ghana, Vida Brewu, a representative from Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMU), Dr. Aba Crentsil, a Research Fellow with the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Dr. Raymond Atuguba, Dr. Sena Dei-Tutu and Mrs Christine Dowuona-Hammond- from University of Ghana Law School. Also in attendance were Drs. Priscilla Twumasi-Baffour and Edward Nketiah-Amponsah from the Department of Economics, University of Ghana. Other participants included representatives from Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA), Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) and Ghana Chamber of Mines.
Dr. Raymond Atuguba, a Fellow of IIAS illustrating that women have the ability to engage in physically-demanding tasks
Vida Brewu from Ghana Mineworkers Union making an input during discussions
Dr. Obiamalu asking if gender differences in earnings could be due to natural abilities