CSR and Women Empowerment: A Comparative Study of Women in the Mining Community in Thailand and Lao PDR
Mining industry has considerable potential to help reduce poverty and accelerate human development, through the promotion of gender equity, by increasing government and community revenues and generating employment among women in the community. Most mining multinational corporations (MNCs) exercise their political economy power through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Most CSR activities by mining MNCs focus on improving economic status and conditions of the local community. Most mining MNCs, however, have been striving to adopt business ideologies and developmental practices that promote equity among men and women.
However, it is reported that women in the mining industry still struggle to be at the similar level to men economically and socially. In this paper, we explore the impacts of CSR activities by mining industry in Lao PDR and Thailand. Findings from this study confirm that Thai women remain skeptical about roles and gender issues in the mining industry. A comparative aspect between Thailand and Lao PDR shows that women in the mining community aspire for equity among people of all backgrounds (gender, education, age, and location) to work in this industry. Thai women may perceive employment opportunities as a mean to re-migrate to live with family. They also relate issues on economic empowerment from mining industry to political participation by women in Thailand.