The truly sustainable community development should mean transforming the lives of the whole community members both men and women. In the realization of the fact, the Tanzania government has recently embarked massively on reforms of laws, guidelines, and regulations governing the mining, oil and gas sector to ensure that the natural resources ultimately benefits the Tanzania citizens. The unfruitful efforts to develop a local content policy for oil and gas sector was the most remarkable and the most promising step towards resource nationalism though it ended up producing a draft version of the local content policy for oil and gas in April 2014. On the other hand, the struggles for development of the local content policy for the mining sector have been an eye-opener to government officials and stakeholders, of which every process for laws, guidelines and regulations formulations/amendments should take into consideration the international local content policy requirements.
According to the oil and gas local content policy, Local content policy is defined as the added value brought to a host nation (and regional and local areas in that country) through the activities of the oil and gas industry. This may be measured (by project, affiliate, and/or country aggregate) and undertaken through two main attributes: (i) Workforce development, through employment and training of local workforce; and (ii) Investments in supplier development through developing and procuring supplies and services locally.
The first attribute for undertaking the local content policy stands for addressing the inclusion concept of all groups in the mining sector including men and women workforce in the mining sector. But, since start of exploration and extraction of mining in African continent documentation for workforce working in the mining sector for addressing inequality has been lacking for so long. Even the available body of research shows clearly the under-reported trends of women workforce in the mining sector in African continent. The report by the World Bank (2015) and ILO (1999) reported there are 20 to 30 million people, globally who are engaged in ASM, and between 10 and 50 percent are women. In Asia, less than 10 percent of miners are women, whereas in Latin America the proportion tends to be higher, approximately 10– 20 percent. The percentage of female ASM operators is highest in Africa, averaging between 40 and 50 percent. In some regions, the ASM workforce is comprised of more than 60 percent of women respectively. Women are more involved in ASM than in the large-scale mining sector and are mostly participating in informal operations.
As many African countries as Tanzania for many years of extractions in the extractive industries, the sector has been dominated by men labor force and living out women labor force involved in the key activities of the mining sector like owning pits and fair market is practically non-existence due to the so-called cultural and historical aspects. Despite their central role in socio-economic contributions in society as they normally tend to spend their proceeds from mining on their families and pass down their expertise to younger generations. Most of women in the mining sector in Tanzania are reported to be engaging in part-time informal mining operations and auxiliary roles such as cooking and service provision representing 30 to 50 percent of the mining workforce in some regions. The tendency is immensely continuing creating social and economic inequality between men and women in the Tanzanian mining sector and limiting them benefiting optimally from the mining sector value chain.
The circumstance if remains unchecked by all stakeholders will continue excluding women from benefiting the mining sector. This calls for participatory action research to expose empirical evidence on women workforce participation in the mining sector which in future will be used by practitioners, stakeholders, and policymakers to address the inequality challenge in sector and making targeted and mainstreamed decisions for inclusive growth.