The Gender Contract

The Gender Contract

How ExxonMobil is promoting economic opportunities for women in Papua New Guinea
© ExxonMobil

Managing Director,
ExxonMobil PNG Limited

Gender violence and inequality are among the most pressing of the many development challenges that confront Papua New Guinea. When ExxonMobil began to assess the resource potential that led to the construction of the multi-billion dollar Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas (PNG LNG) Project, it quickly recognized that supporting women’s economic empowerment would be critical to the project’s success and to drive broad-based economic growth.

The participation of women in a nation’s economy is vital. Papua New Guinea’s future will be – in no small part – dependent upon the increasing role that women play in the country’s workforce and economic leadership. Papua New Guinean women can, and must, be part of the development solution. As highlighted in the UNDP’s recently released Papua New Guinea Human Development Report (2014), as well as in a Harvard case study published in 2014, ExxonMobil PNG (EMPNG) has implemented a number of successful programs to empower women and built community resiliency.

Sustaining agriculture

We recognize that even seemingly small interventions to support women can have significant impact. The agriculture sector is the largest employer of Papua New Guineans and is the lifeblood of many communities. EMPNG’s food and agriculture program provides women with the opportunity to learn how to produce and market different products that generate income for these women and their families. Since 2010, the project has provided training courses across 26 locations serving 113 active women’s groups. This training has included baking skills, nutrition and household health, and hygiene.

So far, more than 650 women—and a handful of men working to change traditional stereotypes—have graduated from this program. EMPNG has extended this program with a “train-the-trainer” course, so that women from other areas can be taught vital skills in food security, food hygiene and income generation, and to promote long-term program sustainability.

Supporting leaders, entrepreneurs, and employees

Over the past eight years EMPNG has also supported 49 Papua New Guinean women in the Global Women in Management (GWIM) program, which helps them manage and expand their organizations. The skills and networking opportunities offered through GWIM provides participants with the capacity to expand their impact in their communities.

Other steps the company has taken to promote women’s economic opportunities include joining the Board of the PNG Business Coalition for Women (BCFW)—an organization supported by IFC and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade—and partnering with the World Bank and the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum to deliver entrepreneurial training to 160 women in rural areas.

Underpinning our corporate citizenship and social investment are the many talented and dedicated women working for EMPNG across the entire project. This includes Papa New Guinean women working in our Land and Community Affairs team, female operations and maintenance trainees along with engineers, planning and safety staff.

Development challenges require ongoing collaboration between the public sector, industry and civil society. Together we can, and are, creating positive change.

About ExxonMobil in Papua New Guinea
ExxonMobil has been in Papua New Guinea since the 1920s. It currently has interests in fuels marketing, and oil production and is responsible for constructing the $19 billion PNG LNG Project. The PNG LNG Project is an integrated development that includes gas production and processing facilities, onshore and offshore pipelines, and liquefaction facilities.

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