A Social Relations of Gender Analysis of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining in Africa’s Great Lakes Region


K. Danielsen, J. Hinton

Much research on gender and artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) has tended to focus on describing the different roles women undertake in mining, while there has been less attention to how gender relations are constructed, reinforced and challenged in and through ASM. Drawing from desk and field research in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, this paper presents a framework to analyse gender dynamics in ASM along four interrelated dimensions of gender relations: division of labour; access to and control over resources and benefits; decision-making; and gender norms.

The authors argue that unequal gender relations in ASM are mainly legitimized by gender norms that produce, and are reinforced by, the varying abilities of women and men to make decisions and control resources. Findings also describe the diversity and instability of gender relations, and demonstrate how gender inequalities can be and are being challenged by women miners.