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.
“There is still a lot to do, but we found that strategies, which complement economical and political empowerment as well as leadership, work. Especially in the context of collaboration with Fairmined certified mines, these strategies have good potential to achieve sustainable results.”
¿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:
- Conection to formal markets for artisanal female miners.
- Supporting the creation of female miners associations.
- 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.
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:
- Supporting participation of women’s associations in regional/territorial events.
- Participation in national and international events.
- Visibilization of their work.
3. Mainstreaming of the gender approach in our projects and standards:
- Putting together workshops for miners to deal with sexism in communities.
- We are progressively incorporating a gender approach in artisanal and small-scale mining through our two standards to adress the following issues:
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
Proudly women miners: some stories
From ninja to representative of miners. Mongolia 2019.
A gold panner from Cauca: Yurani
Interview about mercury and artisanal mining, 2018.
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?
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Women miners exchanges
Events: women miners voices
Blogs and articles
[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. https://womenandmining.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/igf-women-asm-challenges-opportunities-participation.pdf