Research helps Mongolia tackle gender violence

Traditional lifestyles are being challenged by the mining boom in Mongolia.
Traditional lifestyles are being challenged by the mining boom in Mongolia.

New research from The University of Queensland has helped find practical solutions to gender-based violence issues stemming from Mongolia’s mining boom.

A UQ Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining research project has helped prompt a $280,000 Memorandum of Understanding between Mongolia’s National Committee on Gender Equality and the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi mining company.

Research manager Isabel Cane said her research had identified connections between mining activities and gender-based violence in the South Gobi region of Mongolia.

“Domestic violence, sexual assault and alcohol-fuelled violence have increased, causing a rise in personal traumas, family break-ups, health-related issues and broader community insecurity,” Ms Cane said.

“This MOU is a positive start, but stronger legislative and social awareness will be required to prevent the potential growth of gender-based violence in a nation undergoing a minerals boom.

“The MOU is focussed on practical solutions such as installing street lighting to improve visibility and safety; building a health centre to support women and girls; establishing alternative activities for girls by building a green park; and countering the environmental impacts of mining to foster a more family friendly community.”

Ms Cane said the MOU, developed after a roundtable discussion about the findings of her research, provided recommendations to policy makers.

“In an industry where gender issues are not at the forefront, an MOU between a government body and a mining company is a very positive step and demonstrates commitment to gender issues and responsible mining more broadly,” she said

Ms Cane said her research in Mongolia could be applied in other developing countries where mining was affecting gender relations.

Ms Cane’s research, which was funded by the International Mining for Development Centre , has been released in a Mapping Gender Based Violence and mining infrastructure in Mongolian mining communities, a comparative analysis report.