The Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS) at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) is pleased to announce the publication of “Gender Mainstreaming Oil and Natural Gas in Lebanon”, a one of a kind organizational research study concerning gender, youth, inclusion, social inequality and good governance in the Extractive Industries (EI) sector – rethinking workplace diversity management in Lebanon and in the MENA region.
The publication authors, Professor Eugene Sensenig as primary investigator (PI) and head of the Gender, Communications and Global Mobility (GCGM) studies unit at FLPS, and Rouba El Helou, research associate at GCGM, adopted an intersectional lens to shed light on the workplace management needs of the EI sector. The study was the result of a unique partnership with the British ‘Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD)’ and global NGO ‘Publish What You Pay (PWYP)’, based on the request of the Women and Children Committee of the Lebanese Parliament in Beirut.
Research observations, findings and study recommendations were based on an empirical research process with a survey and interviews to rediscover inequalities and a multiplicity of intersecting identities. The authors of the study considered this a crucial dynamic which has been neglected for the longest time in Lebanon.
“Identities were always limited to the religious, confessional and sectarian component”, said professor Sensenig, who added “to overcome systemic corruption rooted in sectarianism and the prevalent culture of impunity diversity management, inclusion and gender mainstreaming should be promoted and implemented as key strategic action plans across all sectors”. Therefore, this study will benefit the oil and natural gas (ONG) industry to combat gender stereotypes and the predominant inequalities of this sector, but can be used as a benchmark to reform old laws and rethink the workplace organically.
El Helou pointed out that the study highlights intersectionality as an administrative and political approach based on the ‘Multi-Stakeholder Group’ process (MSG) within the (EI) sector. Diversity management deals with various layers of identity, including age, gender, abilities/disability, social class, and religion within Lebanese society. It demonstrates how detrimental the current lack of progress in implementing gender policies and labor code reform has been, thus illustrating the need for a purposeful action plan to fight the resource curse and ‘Dutch-disease’ in Lebanon and to turn it into a ‘resource-blessing’.
The study includes five major sections with a historical comparative approach related to the role of women in the petroleum and mining sectors in the Global North and in Lebanon. It addresses the gaps in the Lebanese Labor code (since 1946) which excludes women from working in mining and with heavy equipment. The study also shows how Lebanon has introduced various international labor norms (including 2018 Law No. 84), but never implemented these laws in the workplace.
The study was launched by the GCGM and the Women & Children Committee of the Lebanese Parliament in Beirut. Key elements related to legal reforms and workplace equality were picked up and highlighted by members of the committee. The GCGM is currently developing implementation guidelines in order to reform the Lebanese Labor Code.