Worldwide, about 30% of the workers in artisanal and small-scale mining are women. In sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of women is higher, about 40 to 50%. Since long, the roles and positions of these women were poorly understood. Moreover, within the group of politically marginalized ASM workers, female workers are even more marginalized as they are mainly involved in so-called secondary activities, like washing and crushing, or in services and goods provision. However, there are also women who occupy important positions in mining sites.

In the past decade, the role of women in mining has received more policy attention. The work of academics, such as CEGEMI’s Marie-Rose Bashwira, has been critical in better understanding the different role women play. Prof. Bashwira’s PhD research at Wageningen University (defended in 2017) was carried out in collaboration with CEGEMI. An article entitled Not only a man’s world: women’s involvement in artisanal mining in eastern DRC was co-authored with Jeroen Cuvelier, Thea Hilhorst and Gemma van der Haar, in the context of the project on Mining Governance, conflict transformation and sustainable development in the DRC, carried out by Wageningen University and funded by the Dutch NWO. Rose talks about her research in a short video here.

CEGEMI has also played a role in accompanying the Congolese network for women in mining sites, which was financed by the World Bank’s Promines project. The inaugural conference was hosted by CEGEMI. A conference report can be found here.

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Pictures ©Sara Geenen