At the end of June 2018, practitioners met in Washington for the World Bank’s ‘Global Conference on Gender, Oil, Gas and Mining, with two panels focusing on ASM, where women play a crucial role.
Women’s participation in ASM is far greater (40–50%) than in large-scale mining (<10%), providing a reliable income, financial independence and empowerment and having positive impacts on household living. Yet, in many countries, women face challenges to participating in ASM due to barriers in legal frameworks such as the right to be sole business proprietors, mineral license holders, and land owners, as well as wider discrimination through socio-cultural norms, lower pay, unpaid care giving and household tasks and unequal education opportunities. Issues also include the lack of separate changing and sanitation facilities at mine sites, and affordable child care. These must all be addressed maximise the socio-economic benefits women, as well as society, can derive from the sector.