Addressing specific challenges and realising empowerment opportunities in ASM

In many countries, women comprise 40 – 50% of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) workforce, whereas they are estimated to comprise less than 10% of the workforce in industrial or large-scale mining (LSM).

Despite this essential role, they are largely confined to less well-paid activities such as carrying and processing ore by breaking rocks, renting pans, shovels and other simple equipment, selling refreshments and food, and panning or sieving for gold and diamonds. As in other sectors, studies have shown that income women earn from ASM is often used for household needs and to support their children through education, among other positive development impacts of their economic empowerment.

The participation rates of women in ASM decline as formalisation and mechanisation increase. Women experience particular challenges and gender-based discrimination in the acquisition of legal mineral titles and the running of ASM operations, often due to societal and cultural norms and perceptions. While ASM creates economic empowerment opportunities for women, it can also perpetuate inequalities and expose them to gender-based violence.

IWiM supports WIM organisations focused on ASM and aims to facilitate targeted development initiatives to assist ASM communities including women.

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DELVE  a global online data platform on ASM

The World Bank  Technical assistance to increase productivity coupled with social protection and fair labor standards; Interplay of mining with other aspects of local economies to promote better integrated rural development strategies; Pilot efforts to model clean supply chains or fair trade minerals are emerging as a means to spread the principle of responsibility across the supply chain.

IGF The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) supports more than 75 nations committed to leveraging mining for sustainable development to ensure negative impacts are limited and financial benefits are shared. It is devoted to optimizing the benefits of mining to achieve poverty reduction, inclusive growth, social development and environmental stewardship. 

The Artisanal and Small-scale Mining Knowledge Sharing Archive Resource database and link to other organisations

PACT A non-profit international development organization founded in 1971, Pact works on the ground in nearly 40 countries to improve the lives of those who are challenged by poverty and marginalization. We strive for a world where all people are heard, capable and vibrant.