Strengthening Women Access and Prosperity in the Tanzanian Mining Sector; Policy and legal Recommendations

Mining pix

According to EITI, the extractive industries contributed approximately 5 percent of Tanzania’s GDP in Tanzania in the 2017/18 financial year.


According to EITI, the extractive industries contributed approximately 5% of Tanzania’s GDP in Tanzania in the 2017/18 financial year. The Tanzanian government gained revenues of about US$314m during the financial year. It is therefore a sector that cannot be ignored as far as gender issues are concerned.

Despite this, Tanzanian women in the extractives sector remain marginalised and realise fewer benefits than their male counterparts.

According to the World Bank, extractive industries can provide opportunities for a better life, including increased employment opportunities, access to revenues, and expanded investment in the local community. Women-led businesses can flourish in the extractives supply chain.

From a policy, practice and legal perspective, the TEITA Act, 2015 bears no provision for Women participation and representation, despite the fact that their inclusion, has been categorized as the presence of women in institutions created by various laws that govern the extractive sector; the presence of specific provisions in pieces of legislation that offer protection for women's interest and the presence of requirement of a minimum number of women in decision making processes across the extractive sector value chain. Having an enabling policy environment backed by supporting institutional frameworks is key to supporting greater women participating and prosperity within extractives.

Unfortunately, it is difficult getting up to date data on gender in the sector. According to the ‘Mapping Study of Gender and EI Study in Mainland Tanzania, 2016, ‘Extractive Industries are important sources of employment and self-employment. However, across EI subsectors, women are in the minority. Between 6 and 28 per cent of those directly involved are women, depending on the sector’.

The study goes on to note that in 2011, it was estimated to be 680,385 artisanal and small miners (ASMs), of which only 187,575 were women (27.6 per cent). From HR’s work in extractives, this situation remains generally unchanged. There is an urgent need to engender extractives and increase the number of women who are able to access, participate and prosper within the sector.

Women in Tanzania own and control only a small component of the extractives sector. They constitute almost 25% of the mining operations, many participating directly as service providers. This percentage is unacceptable given that women are 51% of the overall population in the country. Women continue to face barriers such as lack of capital to engage in artisanal mining as well as inadequate capacity to be able to negotiate for better deals in the sector. Evidence shows that the sector has only taken on board few women in the supply chain and that it is rare to find women owning mining pits.

This is due to a huge capital required for initial investment and the patriarchal nature of the sector that reduces their chances of benefiting from the sector and achieving the right to development. The situation is even worse looking at the oil and gas subsectors where the involvement of women is not documented. There is a need for affirmative policies, legislation and programs that give women a fighting chance in the extractives sector.

Women leadership of important segments of the extractive value chain is limited. This is evident in medium and large-scale mining operations. The situation is replicated in key agencies charged with the management of the sector. There are unequal power relations in decision-making at all levels. One example is the Mining Commission which is composed of one (1) woman out of nine (9) commissioners thus showing underrepresentation – a situation that is common across the sector. Customary practices, discriminative attitudes against women exacerbate the situation. Unless action is taken, women will continue to ‘lark in the shadows’ as far as the leadership and management of this important sector is concerned. They will be left out of key decision-making processes that impact on their lives and fail to realise the full spectrum of benefits that extractives offer.

Women face sexual harassment and discrimination in the extractives sector. The harassment manifests across the value chain, especially in mining, but is rarely highlighted leave alone addressed. The issue of gender-based violence within the extractives sector is one that HakiRasilimali seeks to tackle, as highlighted in its 2021-2025 strategic plan. With the advent of Covid-19, there has been a surge in gender-based violence not only in Tanzania, but across the world. Unfortunately, women in extractives often suffer quietly, fearing further marginalisation if they speak out.

On different occasion, Government of Tanzania (GoT) committed to join global efforts in bridging gender gaps by ratifying a number of international and regional legal instruments that call for gender equality and elimination of discrimination against women. At the same time, while national laws are generally expected to be facilitative tools for achieving policy goals, the Tanzanian Mining Legal Framework lack affirmative provisions to echo stipulations of the Mineral Policy and the government commitment towards gender equality. Nonetheless, there has been numerous implementation challenges as described below;

  1. Under the Constitution, every citizen is obliged to ensure that natural resources (including minerals) are protected. This implies that everyone has to be engaged in planning and decision-making processes concerning natural resources such as minerals. The Constitutional requirement that calls for decentralization of inter alia, decision making processes to local government authorities and the enactment of legislation to put into effect this directive is yet another commendable.
  2. To realize benefits stated in the Gender Development Policy, 2000, the sectoral laws should embrace the spirit of the policy. Gender Policy and its strategy of 2005 have adequately addressed gender equity, but unfortunately, the mining laws are lacking correlation with stipulations of these policy documents as far as gender equity is concerned.
  3. Through Tanzania Mineral Policy, 2009 the Government commits to promote participation of women in mining activities; by ensuring that all programs related to mining, including education and training opportunities, are based on gender equality and equity, however the challenge remain on lack of comprehensive sectoral strategy to execute this.  
  4. Tanzania mining legal framework has put mandatory requirements for Mining Companies to prepare Plans on how they will employ and train Tanzanians. In accordance to section 103 and 104 of the Mining Act 2010 (as amended in 2017) companies are required to prepare plans for technological transfer and employment opportunities. Execution of aforementioned sections lack monitoring mechanism to ensure gender equity and equality is attained.
  5. Furthermore, The Mining Act of 2010 (as amended 2017) established the Mining Commission. Among others, the Commission is empowered to manage the mining operations in the country. However, the composition of women representatives in the Mining Commission is inadequate as it is limited to a representation of one woman only and other members who subscribe to it by virtual of their official position. This impedes efforts to have women represented in higher decision especially those involving revenue management.
  6. The Local Government Finance Act provides for 40% non interest rate loan out of the 10% to be granted to women groups. On the contrary, women involved in the mining sector are limited to qualify for loans issued by local government authorities due to a perception that, once you are involved in mining, you are financially capable woman.
  7. The composition of the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency and Accountability Committee lacks an affirmative gender provision to mandate inclusion of women in the committee. Women are left out in decision making and management of the extractive industry which includes the mining sector.

In line with the above, Policies and laws reviewed reveals that there is no direct link between what is provided in the Policy and provisions of the mining laws. Most of the mining laws have been found to be gender blind since they do not enhance women participation in mining. Further, the laws are lacking mechanisms for tracking women’s contribution in the mining sector and the criteria for allocating mining revenues.

Furthermore, women have no opportunity during budgeting to verify that the amount set as loans is actually 10% of the LGA’s revenues collected. Moreover, organs responsible for assessment of loan applications, issuing loans and monitoring of repayment do not purposely consist of women to safeguard their interests. It has been proved that Tanzania has no mechanism for revenues allocation based on gender, the approach used is based on government priorities.


Based on the findings and ultimate conclusion, HakiRasilimali has come up with recommendations to enhance full and effective women’s participation in the mining sector; proper allocation of revenues from mining and involvement of women in management of revenues from the sector. The recommendations are offered towards specific actors in order to bring to light specific actions to be undertaken to ensure that women no longer lose out from the mining sector as per the findings of the study.

  1. The Ministry of Minerals should adopt strategic programs to foster participation and involvement of women in the mining sector in order to increase the level of women engagement in the sector which is relatively low compared to that of men.
  2. Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) should put clear legal requirements for segregation of the revenues in a gender parity manner so as to identify women’s contribution to the mining revenues as the existing legal framework has not sufficiently put in place effective mechanisms to spot inclusion of women in the entire mining value chain.
  3. The Ministry of Finance and Planning should adopt a purposive revenues allocation mechanism which has to be institutionalized rather than being subjective/individualized as this will ultimately enable allocating them purposely to ensure that women get a deserving share of benefit from the sector.
  4. The Local Government Authorities should establish state-managed loans facilities such as public micro financing structures accessible to women (including women who are working in extractive sector such as in mining activities) in order to achieve the desired results as set by Section 37 A of The Local Government Finance Act, (Cap 290 R.E 2019).
  5. The Parliament should call in to order the Government to review section 21 (7) of the Mining Act 2019 as it gives no room for gendered approach to the appointment of members of the Tanzania Mining Commission.
  6. The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) should continue advocating for review of the Mining Act, 2019 to accommodate a specific provision on creation of a conducive environment for women engagement in the sector. This will ensure a move away room sweeping provision in the Mineral Policy, 2009 which aims at encouraging and promoting women participation in mining activities.