On the 20th and 21st of October ARM organised a workshop on the participatory creation of tools and methodologies to encourage gender equality in the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) sector in Villa de Leyva, Boyacá, Colombia. Forty-three women took part in the event, amongst which were coal miners, students of the SENA and potters, all members of the project “Orgullosamente Mineras” (Proudly Women Miners), which form part of an association of women miners that works alongside the Alliance for Responsible Mining.
By applying different types of participatory techniques, we collected material to create tools and methodologies that will allow us to confront the gender inequality within the ASM. We will also be able to implement policies of conciliation in the work, family and personal fields, as well as supporting the women’s full participation in the decision-making process and their promotion within the ASM organisations. At the same time, we are working to find ways of raising awareness about gender equality for women and men miners, and to create paths for action to face discrimination and other difficult situations.
“The project really helped me as a woman and as a worker. I learned how to be more confident, to communicate more and express myself better”. She said that “The workshop was very good. We were able to talk about our anxieties and worries. We learned what to do and where to report to in case of abuse”.
Furthermore, we created spaces for reflection and catharsis on gender issues in the ASM, where women miners were able to express themselves and share their experiences, as well as participate in workshops for women empowerment.
This activity was developed within the framework of the project “Orgullosamente Mineras” (Proudly Women Miners), funded by the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives, whose aim is to promote the association between women miners and potters, as well as to build strategies to implement gender equality within the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining sector.
“I learned how to value myself more, how to express myself better and speak in public”. She added that “I’d like women and men to be on the same level (professional and social)”.
“Now the miners respect me and value me more as a woman”. She also said that “thanks to this workshop I feel more empowered as a woman. Before, I did not leave the house, now I go out to get to know new things. It changed the way I look at and do things”