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Women, Gender, and Politics

N19(b) - Encountering Energy and Resource Extraction

Date: Jun 6 | Time: 01:30pm to 03:00pm | Location: EOSM 135

Chair/Président/Présidente : Meenal Shrivastava (Athabasca University)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Deborah Stienstra (University of Guelph)

Accounting for Gender and Diversity in Resource Extraction Impact Assessment: Susan Manning (Dalhousie University)
Abstract: Resource extraction projects, including mines, oil and gas projects, and hydroelectric dams, have both positive and negative effects for communities near extraction sites. The negative effects of these projects, including rising rates of homelessness, violence, and increasingly strained social services, are disproportionately experienced by historically marginalized members of communities. These include women and girls, Indigenous people, racialized minorities, and people living on low incomes. Gender-based (plus) analysis (GBA+) is an underused tool that has the potential to help identify and mitigate these impacts before a resource extraction project begins. After the landmark calls for gender mainstreaming in the Beijing Platform for Action, Canadian governments committed to using GBA+ in planning and delivering their policies and programs. However, in 2015, the Auditor General of Canada found that many federal government departments were not doing adequate gender and diversity analysis in their work. There are few evaluations of the effectiveness of gender and diversity analysis in other levels of government. We know very little about how gender and diversity analysis tools have been integrated in resource extraction impact assessment processes. This paper shares the results of a comparative policy scan of impact assessment legislation and policy documents across Canadian governmental jurisdictions (including federal, provincial and territorial). Ultimately, the paper argues that (1) there are a limited number of policy instruments that consider gender and diversity in assessing potential impacts of resource extraction projects, and (2) these policy instruments rely on a simplistic approach to understanding diversity, rather than an intersectional approach.

Regenerative Refusal: Gender, Extraction and Sustainable Energy Futures: Sarah Wiebe (University of Hawai'i Manoa)
Abstract: High-profile natural resource developments attract vibrant debate from across sectors of society. Numerous Indigenous leaders, including women, speak up and refuse the extension of extraction initiatives in their homelands and waters. Tiny House Warriors in Secwepemc territory constructed tiny homes along the pathway of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion Project and young leaders have organized rallies and walkouts with youth and articulate a love for and need to protect the coast. We can understand this refusal of extractive political life as an embrace of a more generative one that envisions possibilities for sustainable, decolonial futures. How are resistance movements to resource extraction gendered? This paper draws together literature in ecofeminism, queer theory, and Indigenous environmental justice to center gender in conversations about resource extraction (Corntassel 2012; Corntassel and Bryce 2012; Coulthard 2014; Gaard 1997, 2008; Hoover 2017; Hunt and Holmes 2015; Kimura 2015; Million 2013; Osorio 2018; Pasternak 2017; Sandilands and Erickson et al. 2010; Schlosberg 2013; Simpson 2017; Shiva 2005; Wiebe 2016). Informed by a “felt theory” approach to stories of resistance (Million 2013), this paper highlights vignettes of creative expressions of resistance, i.e. through music, poetry, and mixed media storytelling and argues for a more fluid, feeling approach to neoliberal extraction. This affective form of investigation interrogates uneven power relations to center the voices of those often left out of resource extraction initiatives. In doing so, this paper aligns with an academic activist ethic of relational politics while refusing extraction and centering relations between humans and more-than-human lifeworlds.

Women and Perceptions of ‘Social License to Operate’ in the Nuclear Sector: Kalowatie Deonandan (University of Saskatchewan)
Abstract: The Liberal Partly platform with respect to resource development asserts that, “While governments grant permits … only communities can grant permission.” This implies that communities might have the ultimate say in terms of which project has a “social license to operate.” However, communities affected by resource development, whether in oil and gas or mining or nuclear energy, are rising up in protest arguing that they are deleteriously affected by project about which they were not consulted or to which they did not give their permission. At the same time, companies operating in these sectors assert the converse. The objective of this analysis is to examine the concept of social license to operate as it pertains to the nuclear industry. Focusing on women and the nuclear sector, and relying on qualitative research data, this paper analyses the emergence of the concept of “social license to operate,” by situating it within a constructivist framework, and assesses the perceptions of women regarding the meaning of the term when it comes to nuclear sector development.