Multi-National Corporations

What’s So Special about the Arabian Peninsula? A Reply to Groh and Rothschild


Ross, Michael L. 2012. “What’s So Special about the Arabian Peninsula? A Reply to Groh and Rothschild.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 7 (1): 89–103. doi:10.1561/100.00012004.

Author: Michael L. Ross


My 2008 article suggested that oil wealth, but not Islam, has impeded progress towards gender equality in the Middle East. Groh and Rothschild re-examine one part of my study, which reported a statistical correlation between oil rents and female labor force participation; they argue that the ‘‘deep cultural history’’ of the Arabian Peninsula offers a better explanation for the observed correlations. In this brief reply, I note that they do not accurately describe my conclusions and analysis; that other evidence in the article does not support their argument; and that they have not identified what makes the Arabian Peninsula so different from the rest of the Middle East — apart from its extraordinary oil wealth.

Keywords: women in politics, comparative politics, religion and politics

Topics: Development, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Multi-National Corporations, Political Participation, Religion, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East

Year: 2012

The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations


Ross, Michael L. 2012. The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 

Author: Michael L. Ross


Countries that are rich in petroleum have less democracy, less economic stability, and more frequent civil wars than countries without oil. What explains this oil curse? And can it be fixed? In this groundbreaking analysis, Michael L. Ross looks at how developing nations are shaped by their mineral wealth--and how they can turn oil from a curse into a blessing. Ross traces the oil curse to the upheaval of the 1970s, when oil prices soared and governments across the developing world seized control of their countries' oil industries. Before nationalization, the oil-rich countries looked much like the rest of the world; today, they are 50 percent more likely to be ruled by autocrats--and twice as likely to descend into civil war--than countries without oil. The Oil Curse shows why oil wealth typically creates less economic growth than it should; why it produces jobs for men but not women; and why it creates more problems in poor states than in rich ones. It also warns that the global thirst for petroleum is causing companies to drill in increasingly poor nations, which could further spread the oil curse. This landmark book explains why good geology often leads to bad governance, and how this can be changed.


  • Size is not as important as source: Cursed states fluctuate and easily hide revenue because it is not based on taxation, in contrast to European states -- Availability of rents means oil-producing states are 30% less reliant on taxes ($6 in Canada vs. $42 in Nigeria)

  • MNCs create physical and economic enclaves and use own resources or employ expatriates to live on the oil rigs, creating little to no impact on economic growth for the region

  • Defies two trends: wealthier without more democracy or progress toward gender equality

  • When women work outside the home, they develop crucial networks, conversations, confidence and income to increase their bargaining power in the household and society. 

  • TNOCs are more likely to hire men when it requires strength, expensive training, or domestic markets

  • Dutch Disease crowds out manufacturing opportunities, and domestic manufacturers are more likely to employ men

  • When oil booms do create jobs, they are usually in the service sector, which is good for women if they can obtain these jobs -- “In countries where women face barriers to working in the service sector, oil wealth is liable to retard their economic, social and political progress” (118)

  • Number of working women is 23% lower in oil states (smaller ratio in the rest of the developing world) (120)

  • Non-oil states have more export manufacturing jobs

  • Oil countries are 50% more likely to have a civil war -- Oil makes governments larger, less accountable, and dominated by men, but cause of civil war is related to citizens (146)


“As countries get richer, women typically gain more opportunities – both economic opportunities in the workplace, and political opportunities to serve in government. Yet this has not occurred in countries that get rich by selling petroleum. The benefits of oil booms usually go to men.” (111)

“The long-run economic success of oil-rich states seems to depend partly on their success in drawing women into the labor force, which reduces fertility rates and the demand for migrant labor, and thus population growth; and partly on the government’s capacity to maintain countercyclical policies that smooth out booms and busts.” (230)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Globalization, Governance, Households, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations, Political Economies, Political Participation, Religion, Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2012

Beyond Women Workers: Gendering CSR


Pearson, Ruth. 2007. “Beyond Women Workers: Gendering CSR.” Third World Quarterly 28 (4): 731–49. doi:10.2307/20454959.

Author: Ruth Pearson


Though there is now a great deal of attention to the question of women workers and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a more far reaching analysis, which is informed by feminist economics approaches, stresses the importance of the gendered nature of the institutional context in which value chains operate, and the importance of acknowledging that labour markets are themselves gendered institutions which reflect socially constructed divisions of labour. This paper explores what a more holistic approach to corporate social responsibility might mean, especially when explored through the lens of gender analysis. I use the concept of social reproduction to examine the kinds of issues a gendered approach to CSR might embrace, with particular attention to the "social", in terms of the reproduction of the labour power used in production. I apply this scrutiny to the emblematic example of the current spate of murders of young women in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, the location of thousands of manufacturing assembly plants producing for export to the United States. The paper concludes with some suggestions of initiatives which might be developed to incorporate a gendered dimension into a more comprehensive notion of CSR.

Topics: Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Multi-National Corporations

Year: 2007

The Delta Creeks, Women’s Engagement and Nigeria’s Oil Insurgency


Oriola, T. 2012. “The Delta Creeks, Women’s Engagement and Nigeria’s Oil Insurgency.” British Journal of Criminology 52 (3): 534–55. doi:10.1093/bjc/azs009.

Author: T. Oriola


The on-going insurgency in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria continues to have serious consequences for oil workers, corporations and the global oil market. In spite of the growing interest in arguably the greatest existential threat to the Nigerian state since the Civil War of 1967–70, scant scholarly attention has been paid to the Delta creeks and the fundamental roles performed by women in the insurgency. This paper interrogates the space represented by the creeks as the home territory of insurgents in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta. Using interview and focus group data garnered from 42 insurgents and five other sets of actors, I analyse the operational significance and symbolism of the creeks and its processual social sorting. In addition, I demonstrate the dichotomous relationship of women to the creeks. Women constitute a major source of reconnaissance, spiritual fortification, among other roles, but are concurrently considered eewo or abomination by male insurgents. Although academic analysis has been overwhelmingly concerned with the supportive roles and nonviolent protests of women, the Delta women are actively engaged in the on-going violent repertoires of protest.

Keywords: Niger Delta, insurgency, oil struggle, Nigerian women, Niger Delta creeks


  • Women mediate between insurgents, the state and TNOCs, exercise “sexual power” (see Turner and Brownhill), are sometimes employed as gunmen, act as emissaries for insurgents (seduce security guards for information, etc.), and provide spiritual fortification.


"I argue that, although scholarly attention has been overwhelmingly concerned with the supportive roles and non-violent protests of women, the Delta women are actively engaged in the on-going violent repertoires of protest in various capacities as gun-runners, combatants, mediators and emissaries of insurgents, amongst others.” (2)

“It is hardly surprising that the United States considers African oil—a major part of it Nigerian in origin—as a commodity of ‘strategic national interest’ (Klare and Volman 2004: 227). The continued provision of arms and ammunitions to the Nigerian state in its war against insurgents is part of the wider securitization of oil in Nigeria by the American and British governments (Lubeck et al. 2007) amid incursion into the Nigerian oil industry by countries like China (see Obi 2008).” (8)

“Focusing on the role of women in the domestic domain inadvertently feeds into the patriarchal ideological underpinnings of the Nigerian society. By establishing key areas in which women participate in the Delta insurgency, I aim to demonstrate that women are an essential part of the violent forms of protest just as they have been active participants in non-violent protest.” (10)

“Women benefit from the facticity of femininity and occupation of a socio-cultural space that construes (Delta) women as somehow less dangerous than men.” (11)

“In the case of the Delta insurgency, female insurgents perform influential roles that the society accords them. However, the young women are perceived as wayward and unsuitable as wives and mothers. Their participation is also largely marginalized. When the federal government of Nigeria granted amnesty to all interested insurgents, for instance, women were among the last set of participants to go through the process of rehabiliation because male insurgents received priority attention. Women’s participation in the insurgency and the rehabilitation exercise seems devalued and relegated to the fringes.” (18)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Development, Economies, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Multi-National Corporations, Political Participation, Weapons /Arms Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2012

The Impact of Petroleum Refinery on the Economic Livelihoods of Women in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria


Omorodion, Francis Isi. 2004. “The Impact of Petroleum Refinery on the Economic Livelihoods of Women in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.” JENDA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies (6): 1–15.

Author: Francis Isi Omorodion


Based on the premise that globalization infringes on the sovereignty of nation-states through promoting free movement of capital and labor, this paper seeks to delineate the impact of petroleum refinery on the economic livelihoods of women in Africa, using Niger Delta region of Nigeria as a case study. Indigenous communities are characterized by economy in which women are active and bear the primary responsibility of feeding members of their homesteads. However, globalization capitalizes on cultural factors through its gender segregation and inequality in African society to attain its goal of profit maximization through practice of male inclusiveness in the activities of petroleum refinery to support the supremacy of male economic livelihoods over that of female. Oil companies provide the male population with alternative employment in the oil industry, and/or pay the men "standby", referring to payment of stipend for no job done. Yet, a majority of women bear the burden for the survival of their household unit, either as the primary breadwinner of female-headed households or of their unit within a polygamous homestead. The paper argues that patriarchy and globalization subjugate women by neglecting and making female economic activities invisible and insignificant. Ultimately, by focusing attention on the operations of oil companies in Nigeria, the fundamental argument based on globalization, patriarchy, and gendering has a wider and global relevance as we peruse the impact of petroleum refinery on women's involvement in development.

Topics: Development, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Globalization, Households, Indigenous, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations, Political Economies Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2004

The Implications of Oil Pollution for the Enjoyment of Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women in Niger Delta Area of Nigeria


Oluduro, Olubayo, and Ebenezer Durojaye. 2013. “The Implications of Oil Pollution for the Enjoyment of Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women in Niger Delta Area of Nigeria.” The International Journal of Human Rights 17 (7-8): 772–95. doi:10.1080/13642987.2013.835911.

Authors: Olubayo Oluduro, Ebenezer Durojaye


Oil is a major source of income for Nigeria and it is the mainstay of the country’s economy. Nigeria’s intensive oil sector accounts for nearly 40% of its gross domestic product, but declined steadily to an average of 14.71% of the country’s total export between 2006 and 2011; and contributed about 80% of budgetary revenues that all tiers of government heavily depend on. Oil spills and gas flaring are some of the effects of the unregulated exploratory activities of the oil multinational companies that have contributed immensely to the physical and mental illness of the local inhabitants of the Niger Delta region and violated most of their rights as guaranteed under international and regional human rights instruments and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) 1999. In view of the growing threats to human health and the environment (posed by human activities), the international community has agreed to a number of treaties to respond to the health and human rights challenges posed by environmental degradation. Although Nigeria is a party to most of these instruments, it has done little or nothing to regulate the conduct of the oil companies that negatively impact on the health of the Niger Delta people. While the impact of oil extraction affects both men and women, the article focuses on its implications for women’s reproductive well-being. This is because women are a disadvantaged and marginalised group and have continued to experience discriminatory practices in many parts of the country, including the Niger Delta area. The article discusses the health challenges associated with oil exploitation in the Niger Delta, paying attention to the position of women. It then proffers suggestions on measures and steps that could be taken by the Nigerian government and other stakeholders in ensuring the adequate protection of the health rights of local inhabitants.

Keywords: oil, exploitation, health, Niger Delta, women

Topics: Development, Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Governance, Health, Mental Health, Reproductive Health, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations, Political Economies, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2013

The Gender of the Gold: An Ethnographic and Historical Account of Women’s Involvement in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Mount Kaindi, Papua New Guinea


Moretti, Daniele. 2006. “The Gender of the Gold: An Ethnographic and Historical Account of Women’s Involvement in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Mount Kaindi, Papua New Guinea.” Oceania 76 (2): 133–49. doi:10.2307/40332019.

Author: Daniele Moretti


The Kaindi area of Papua New Guinea is home to a large community of Anga small-scale miners. While they constitute nearly half of the local population, women do not participate in mining to the same extent as the men. Drawing on ethnographic data this paper shows that this is not just due to personal choice but also to a series of limiting factors that include pollution beliefs, land tenure practices, the unequal control of household resources, and the gendered division of labour. Far from being simply intrinsic to Anga culture, these impediments also relate to the gendered history of the colonial goldfields and to contemporary national law and company practice in the extractive sector. Similarly, they are neither unambiguous nor resistant to change. Indeed, since the Anga first entered the mines their women have engaged in resource extraction in ever increasing numbers, both independently and alongside male relatives and partners. Through an analysis of this historical trend, my paper will show that historically conscious ethnography can help specify not only the main obstacles women face in entering artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), but also the conditions that lead to their strengthening or weakening through time, thus identifying factors to be stimulated or countered in policies and strategies for equitable development within the sector.

Topics: Development, Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Governance, Households, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations Regions: Oceania Countries: Papua New Guinea

Year: 2006

Gender Equality and Corporate Social Responsibility in Mining: An Investigation of the Potential for Change at Kaltim Prima Coal, Indonesia


Mahy, Petra Karolly. 2011. “Gender Equality and Corporate Social Responsibility in Mining: An Investigation of the Potential for Change at Kaltim Prima Coal, Indonesia.” PhD thesis, Australian National University. 

Author: Petra Karolly Mahy


This thesis presents an evaluation of the potential for gender equality to be promoted through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in mining. Research was conducted at Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC), a major coal mining company located in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Since the fall of President Suharto in 1998, Indonesia has increasingly embraced the concept of CSR as meaning the delivery of community development programs by large companies. Indonesia has also become decentralised and district governments and local communities have increased their demands for greater benefits from resource exploitation. Companies such as KPC have had to become active agents of development.

Large-scale mining companies tend to employ majority male workforces and may have a series of gendered ‘impacts’ on local communities. Where mining companies act as development agencies their programs may also cause further social change. This thesis presents an evaluation of the potential for mitigating gendered impacts and striving for gender equality through CSR specific to KPC. It also looks outwards from this one specific case study of KPC to evaluate the recently developed guidelines on gender in mining by the World Bank, Rio Tinto and Oxfam Australia.

This thesis is divided into three parts. Part I considers the various drivers of the CSR agenda and argues that due to the role of the male-dominated district government and local interest groups in driving the CSR agenda, women’s voices are marginalised from CSR debates. Part II presents an analysis of the gendered impacts of KPC’s mining operations taking the literature on the ‘impacts of mining on women’ as a starting point. Particular attention is paid to how female sex workers are depicted in this literature. The thesis demonstrates that while there is certainly a strong case for needing to mitigate the gendered impacts of mining, the ‘impacts of mining on women’ approach tends to exaggerate ‘impacts’ and emphasise ‘victimhood’ and to assume that all women have similar experiences of living in mine-affected communities. The evidence from KPC shows that in fact women’s experiences of mining are very diverse. Part III investigates the gendered aspects of community development policy and implementation. An analysis of KPC’s livelihoods and HIV prevention programs reveals that there are a number of inherent limitations within the CSR paradigm that inhibit the achievement of gender equal outcomes, including the propensity for the company to place business objectives ahead of development aims and to use CSR benefits as a way of pacifying vocal groups. As these vocal groups are usually male, women tend to be overlooked as CSR beneficiaries. This thesis argues that the guidelines by the World Bank, Rio Tinto and Oxfam, while they do make some positive contributions to the discourse on mining and gender, all assume the existence of homogeneous women victims of mining. They also fail to recognise the inherent political and gendered limitations within CSR, and thus need to be re-evaluated in order to be more effective tools for change.

Topics: Development, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Indonesia

Year: 2011

Gendering the Field: Towards Sustainable Livelihoods for Mining Communities


Lahiri-Dutt, Kuntala, ed. 2011. Gendering the Field: Towards Sustainable Livelihoods for Mining Communities. Canberra, Australia: ANU E Press.

Author: Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt


What might sustainability mean in connection with the international mining industry? This important book provides an answer to this question by outlining ways of thinking about the community livelihoods that might be supported alongside minerals development. Shifting the centre of attention from sustaining a controversial ‘development’ to sustaining the livelihoods of women and men in surrounding communities opens up the space to allow a range of practical initiatives. For example, procurement practices can distribute the economic benefits of mining to a wider region and to women, and negotiated agreements can safeguard the spiritual and social needs of indigenous communities living in the vicinity of mining activities. There needs to be many more strategies for transforming a non-renewable activity that destroys landscapes into renewable economic practices that support livelihoods and replenish ecologies. As women enter the mining industry in greater numbers and as their longstanding contributions in artisanal small-scale activities gain greater recognition it is timely to raise these important and hard issues of planetary survival. While there is no necessary connection between women and sustainability, it remains a commonplace observation that where women are able to survive well, their families and communities survive well too. The combined attention to gender and sustainable livelihoods of this volume signals an important turning point, not only for mining industry scholarship, but also hopefully for minerals development policy. We now know that mining companies can attend to gender equality and still perform well in the marketplace. They can also support community livelihoods and compete in the cut and thrust of a competitive industry. Perhaps the next challenge is to see how they can also become responsible and reparative environmental citizens and survive as businesses. The evidence provided in this volume allows us some hope for the future. (Abstract from ANU E-Press Open Research Library)


"The chapters in this book offer concrete examples from all over the world to show how community livelihoods in mineral-rich tracts can be more sustainable by fully integrating gender concerns into all aspects of the relationship between mining practices and mine affected communities. By looking at the mining industry and the mine-affected communities through a gender lens, the authors indicate a variety of practical strategies to mitigate the impacts of mining on women's livelihoods without undermining women's voice and status within the mine-affected communities. The term 'field' in the title of this volume is not restricted to the open-cut pits of large scale mining operations which are male-dominated workplaces, or with mining as a masculine, capital-intensive industry, but also connotes the wider range of mineral extractive practices which are carried out informally by women and men of artisanal communities at much smaller geographical scales throughout the mineral-rich tracts of poorer countries." (ANU E-Press Press Library
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction: Gendering the Masculine Field of Mining for Sustainable Community Livelihoods
Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
2. Modernity, Gender, and Mining: Experiences from Papua New Guinea
Martha Macintyre
3. Bordering on Equality: Women Miners in North America
Laurie Mercier
4. Sex Work and Livelihoods: Beyond the 'Negative Impacts on Women' in Indonesian Mining
Petra Mahy
5. Experiences of Indigenous Women in the Australian Mining Industry
Joni Parmenter
6. Indigenous Women and Mining Agreement Negotiations: Australia and Canada
Ciaran O'Faircheallaigh
7. Gender-Based Evaluation of Development Projects: The LAST Method
Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
8. Women-Owned SMEs in Supply Chains of the Corporate Resources Sector
Ana Maria Esteves
9. On the Radar? Gendered Considerations in Australia-Based Mining Companiesʹ Sustainability Reporting, 2004–2007
Sara Bice
10. Towards a Post-Conflict Transition: Women and Artisanal Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Rachel Perks
11. Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining: Gender and Sustainable Livelihoods in Mongolia
Bolormaa Purevjav
12. Gender Mainstreaming in Asian Mining: A Development Perspective 
Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt and Gill Burke

Topics: Development, Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Indigenous, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations

Year: 2011

On Australia’s Doorstep: Gold, Rape, and Injustice


Knuckey, Sarah. 2013. “On Australia’s Doorstep: Gold, Rape, and Injustice.” The Medical Journal of Australia 199 (3): 1.

Author: Sarah Knuckey



"Many Australians, like others in Western countries that are home to the world’s largest mining companies, benefit economically from extractive industries. We want mine operations to be socially and environmentally responsible, and we expect our governments to fairly regulate corporate activity to prevent or mitigate harm.

But some communities in Papua New Guinea bear the brunt of poorly regulated extractives projects, carried out with insufficient attention to their social impacts. When things go wrong, harms can be compounded by justice and health care systems ill equipped to respond effectively. Australian health professionals have expertise in many of the problems facing those living near PNG mines, and could have much to offer, working in partnership with local communities."

(Knuckey, 2013, p. 1).

Topics: Economies, Extractive Industries, Governance, Health, Justice, Multi-National Corporations, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Oceania Countries: Australia, Papua New Guinea

Year: 2013


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