Mining has been thoroughly discussed and debated on from the framework of economics, resource management and environmental impacts. The mining industry can engage discussions on these, citing models that can address issues of profits and profit-sharing, and alleged sustainable mining practices. Indeed, mining is all about these, but mining is more than all these. Mining is a human rights, and a social justice issue.
Mining is also a woman’s issue; and very much so, an indigenous woman’s issue. Corporate mining is a story of profit - how the natural resources are made capital for profit for the corporations. It is a story of violence - against the environment, and against the women and men of the local communities. It is a story of dispossession - of homes, of land, of dignity, of quality of life, of sovereignty. It is a story of power - for corporations, over our landscapes, our governance, our lives
In this paper, I will present the impacts of extractive industry, particularly large- scale mining on the lives of rural and indigenous women. The stories and examples cited are mostly coming from the regional workshops on women and mining held in 2012 - Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao islands in the Philippines. One valuable source is also the collection of women and mining stories published and launched in 2012. Indigenous women are victims, but also very much are resisters. There will be a discussion on the different actions and platforms the indigenous women have taken to assert their rights. In the process of seeking legal remedies, as well as care from the government given the range of human rights violations they are experiencing, the indigenous women, unfortunately, and ironically, face grave danger in doing so. The corporations, on the other hand, consider women’s human rights as simply another requirement they have to take into consideration as they aggressively maintain their presence at the local level, and keep their pressure at the national level.
This presentation is a contribution in exposing the follies of the kind of development path that our government is taking - commercialization of natural resources, corporations taking over governance, and growth that is simply hoped to trickle down to the women and men at the bottom of our societies. This is also a celebration of the strength and the valuable contribution of indigenous women, as resisters, and acters for change.
by Judy Pasimio