The context

Artisanal mining, small-scale mining and gender equity have a lot to do with responsible mining. Here you can find what we do to include a gender approach at the Alliance for Responsible Mining. But first, a bit of context:


of people working in artisanal and small-scale mining are women [i].

Women in artisanal and small-scale mining are mainly used to do informal or supporting activities.

Therefore their income is lower.

Female miners

¿Who are the women in artisanal mining?

Women mainly carry out the following informal activites:

Gold panners (Barequeras): Informal miners who search for gold released in alluvial deposits (streams or river banks), using manual artisanal methods such as the use of a pan.

‘Barequero’ is the one carrying out the sand washing activity manually. Without help from machinery or mechanical means, the barequero separates and collects precious metals as well as and semi-precious stones contained in the sand. (Ministerio de Minas y Energía – Colombia, 2013).

Mineral collectors (known as chatarreras -Colombia- or Pallaqueras -Peru-): Informal female miners who look for minerals that still have some value in areas where mining organizations deposit waste rocks, which they don’t consider economically viable but still are of great value to this group of women.

In these types of mining, women are a minority. They have little participation and are relegated to carry out only supporting activities.

Gender approach at ARM

Roles assigned to men and women based on their sex by society not only have built imaginaries and stereotypes, but have generated disadvantages in social relationships. Even more, they fostered strong asymetric or power relationships that exclude, subordinate, discriminate and increase inequality.

With incorporating the gender approach, ARM seeks to generate more egalitarian situations between women and men.

The intention is to recognize the causes generating power relations and inequity in order to build mechanisms to overcome the identified social gaps that discriminate women.

Further the gender approach faciliates showing that reality is experienced differently by male and female miners. ARM looks for subsequently identifying the gaps and disadvantaged miners to be able to achieve a progressive transformation in the sector.

What have we done?

1. Economic empowerment, education and building capacities:
  1. Conection to formal markets for artisanal female miners.
  2. Supporting the creation of female miners associations.
  3. Diversification of income sources.


Association of female mineral selectors from Cauca, Colombia. Project using the CRAFT standard.


  • Created an association.
  • Connected with formal markets.

Divinas en brillo de oro and Pallaqueras, Peru.

In the region of Puno, Peru, we have worked with women pallaqueras (mineral selectors) in La Rinconada. We also supported a group of mineral panners from another region, who are part of a Fairmined certified mining organization

Two associations created:

  • Divinas en Brillo de oro specialized in jewelry.
  • The pallaqueras from MACDESA mining organization created a sewing workshop thanks to the Fairmined premium.

ASOAMME, Colombia.

We supported the creation of female miners association that is currently looking for alternative economic activities building a bussines plan.

2. Political empowernment and visibilization:

  1. Supporting participation of women’s associations in regional/territorial events.
  2. Participation in national and international events.
  3. Visibilization of their work.
3. Mainstreaming of the gender approach in our projects and standards:
  1. Putting together workshops for miners to deal with sexism in communities.
  2. We are progressively incorporating a gender approach in artisanal and small-scale mining through our two standards to adress the following issues:

Widespred sexual violence (DD)
Sexual violence and harassment at workplace (OECD DD)
Gender-based restrictions to minerals access
No discrimination
Premium comittee
Health and safety risks
Gender violence policy and education on sexual harassment
Access to innovation and technologies
Support for pregnant women


The Fairmined standard promotes gender equity and in the next revision (2021) we will strengthen this aspect.


Mujeres en la minería artesanal y de pequeña escala

2012. Alliance for Responsible Mining.

Orgullosamente minera

Guía para una mujer minera empoderada

2019. Alliance for Responsible Mining.



The thermometer that allows identifying situations of gender discrimination that can occur in a mining organization.

Specific projects

Proudly women miners

Funded by FCIL. Implemented by the Alliance for Responsible Mining.

RISE Project

Funded by USAid. Implemented by the Alliance for Responsible Mining and the MTd-Lab.

Proudly women miners: some stories

Bayarmaa Dasndondog

From ninja to representative of miners. Mongolia 2019.

Teodora Palli

Pallaquera. Peru 2018.

A gold panner from Cauca: Yurani

Interview about mercury and artisanal mining, 2018.

Join us!

All this work would not be possible without female miners, the market and allied organizations.
Are you part of an organization focused on gender equity?

Would you like to help improving and supporting female minors?

Are you a female miner and would like to give us your opinion?



Women miners exchanges

ARM, Comunica and PNUD organized an exchange experience with women miners

On March 3 and 4, the Empowerment of Mining Women event was held in the municipality of Suárez – village la Turbina-, which was jointly organized by The Alliance for Responsible Mining, UNDP and Comunica, which included the participation of the GEF GOLD project: integrated management for the elimination of mercury in artisanal and small-scale mining, from the United Nations Development Program, UNDP.

Events: women miners voices

Experiences on ASM formalization and networking shared by women miners from 5 Latin American countries

La Paz, Bolivia - June 2022 From June 1 to 3, 2022, women miners from Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia participated in the event “Mentoring Women Community Leaders on ASM” held by...

Blogs and articles

Impacts study of COVID-19 in artisanal mining communities: The Alliance for Responsible Mining is mobilizing!

From May 11th to July 31st 2020, the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) is participating in a global data collection on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in artisanal mining communities.

Pallaqueras in Peru receive support with food baskets

42 Pallaqueras (women mineral selectors), who are members of MACDESA (a Fairmined certified mining organization) in Arequipa, received food baskets as support due to the current conditions they are facing during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Pallaqueras are artisanal miners who work handpicking rocks with precious metal content. Since the quarantine started in this country, in March 2020, these women had to suspend their mining activities. Therefore, they stopped earning their income.

MIT and ARM join forces to address gender violence in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector

The MIT D-Lab Inclusive Economies program and the Alliance for Responsible Mining in Colombia have joined together to launch a two-year program addressing gender-based violence affecting women engaged in artisanal and small-scale gold mining in the Antioquia region of Colombia. The project uses an innovative movement-building approach to foster women miners’ associations and homegrown advocacy to address social and economic gender-based violence in mining communities in Andes, Zaragoza, Nechi, and El Bagre in Antioquia, Colombia.

Impact of COVID-19 on artisanal and small-scale mining

Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) provides livelihoods for about 40 million people worldwide, representing 90% of the gold mining sector workforce and generating around 20% of their annual production . In the context of the global crisis generated by COVID-19, this population is exposed to a number of particular vulnerabilities that need to be urgently assessed at the global, national and local levels to take action to mitigate their impact.

[i] Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF). (2018). Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining: Challenges and opportunities for greater participation. Winnipeg: IISD.

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