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Challenging Masculinity in CSR Disclosures: Silencing of Women’s Voices in Tanzania’s Mining Industry

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Abstract

This paper presents a feminist analysis of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in a male-dominated industry within a developing country context. It seeks to raise awareness of the silencing of women’s voices in CSR reports produced by mining companies in Tanzania. Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in Africa, and women are often marginalised in employment and social policy considerations. Drawing on work by Hélène Cixous, a post-structuralist/radical feminist scholar, the paper challenges the masculinity of CSR discourses that have repeatedly masked the voices and concerns of ‘other’ marginalised social groups, notably women. Using interpretative ethnographic case studies, the paper provides much-needed empirical evidence to show how gender imbalances remain prevalent in the Tanzanian mining sector. This evidence draws attention to the dynamics faced by many women working in or living around mining areas in Tanzania. The paper argues that CSR, a discourse enmeshed with the patriarchal logic of the contemporary capitalist system, is entangled with tensions, class conflicts and struggles which need to be unpacked and acknowledged. The paper considers the possibility of policy reforms in order to promote gender balance in the Tanzanian mining sector and create a platform for women’s concerns to be voiced.

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Notes

  1. Rich’s poem, “Cartographies of silence” is a powerful problematisation of the dilemmas of language, communication and knowledge in contemporary social discourses such as CSR. Rich describes a dream of finding a language with the capacity to free itself from its own history and escape the lengthening shadows of hegemonic patriarchy and a masculine social system.

  2. In this context, ‘écriture féminine’ is about transgressing, destabilising and breaking with gender categories rather than building new ones (see also Linstead and Pullen 2006; Muhr 2008; Muhr and Sullivan 2013).

  3. A number of post-structuralist/radical feminist scholars, such as Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Judith Butler, Sarah Kofman and Hélène Cixous, have been interested in understanding language, its use, power and silence within a discourse.

  4. The heavily manual, dirty and risky character of mining work tends to be emphasised, characterising the male miner as the typical labourer and protecting male interests over those of women workers (see Metcalfe 1987).

  5. By the time the country was finally opened to foreign miners in the mid-1990s, local villagers residing in Tanzanian mining areas had become dependent on artisanal mining, using shovels and pickaxes to search for gold in small mine shafts and surface pits. Most were forced to abandon their livelihoods when commercial mines began to operate in the country.

  6. http://www.miningwatch.ca/sites/miningwatch.ca/files/Canadian_Cos_in_Africa_2001.pdf.

  7. http://www.barrick.com/files/responsibility/Barrick-CSR-Charter.pdf.

  8. http://www.barrick.com/responsibility/employees/default.aspx.

  9. http://www.barrick.com/responsibility/employees/default.aspx.

  10. http://www.barrick.com/CorporateResponsibility/Community/StrengtheningCommunities/default.aspx.

  11. http://www.anglogoldashanti.com/en/Media/Reports/Sustainability%20Reports/Sustainable%20Development%20Report%202014.pdf.

  12. http://www.amref.org/what-we-do/geita-mine-community-health-project-tanzania.

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Acknowledgments

The author is grateful to Steffen Bohm, Mary Philips, Melissa Tyler, anonymous reviewers and the editors for their support, encouragement and illuminating comments, which have been instrumental in the development of this paper. The funding provided by British Academy in partnership with the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies is deeply appreciated.

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Lauwo, S. Challenging Masculinity in CSR Disclosures: Silencing of Women’s Voices in Tanzania’s Mining Industry. J Bus Ethics 149, 689–706 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3047-4

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