illustration of 2 women mining with buckets

Women and Artisanal Mining Paper

WoMin is thrilled to launch a new publication that draws on analysis from Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa to assess the gendered nature of artisanal mining (ASM) and implications for the pursuit of a transformative agenda in Africa.

Women and Artisanal Mining: Possibilities for Social and Structural Transformation was developed based on a mix of interviews, fieldwork and review of literature to assess the situation of women in ASM and consider the possibilities for social and structural transformation. Key state responses have tended to focus on formalisation and have entrenched the marginalisation of women, while centring those of large corporate mining companies.  


The impact of liberalisation for the past four decades has been to deepen an extractivist oriented development model that has also undermined agrarian livelihoods and dismantled previous attempts at building productive capacity from within domestic economies. In response to these outcomes, interventions at the regional and sub-regional level have attempted to create the policy space to revive a structural transformation agenda.   


Women who predominantly depend on farming and livestock are compelled to search for alternative livelihoods. Constraints such as establishing their property rights with access to or control over land create an immediate impediment. Without titles, sources of finance, and appropriate technology, they are predominantly employed into the lowest paid jobs or engage in supplementary economic activities around ASM sites. Exposed to health and safety risks in ASM and earning the lowest incomes, women do not gain a significant share of the benefits in ASM. 

Read the paper in English, French, Kiswahili and Portuguese 

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