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Women in the Extractive Industry in Kenya: Opportunities and Challenges

Millicent Ochieng’


The discovery and subsequent extraction of a wide range of extractive resources in Kenya has propelled the country’s extractive industry to prominence. In anticipation that this industry would be an enabler for the country’s economic growth and development, it has now been included in the country’s development blueprint, the Kenya Vision 2030, as the seventh pillar. However, despite the potential that the industry has for economic growth and development, the same come with attendant social and economic risks as well as environmental harm both at the level of the local communities and at the national level. Whereas both men and women participate in the extractive industry in Kenya, they have very different experiences of the abovementioned impacts. They both have access to benefits from the industry by way of employment and income opportunities, however, evidence increasingly demonstrates that women are often more at risk of harmful social and environmental impacts of the extractive industry with little or no access to justice. It is against this background that this article undertook an assessment of the impact of the activities in the extractive industry on women particularly in Kenya. The study established that the gender gap in the EI in Kenya does not favor the female gender. This is attributed to the lack of adequate financial resources, low awareness and limited legal and institutional frameworks. The article also recommends policy solutions to enhance women’s participation in the industry. These recommendations are also aimed at improving the development outcomes and the economic and social sustainability of the extractive industries.