A Feminist Perspective on Women and Mining in South Africa


Valiani, Salimah, and Nestor Ndebele. 2018. “A Feminist Perspective on Women and Mining in South Africa.” In The Future of Mining in South Africa: Sunset or Sunrise?, edited by Salimah Valiani, 266-97. Woodmead, Johannesburg: Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA). 

Authors: Salimah Valiani, Nestor Ndebele


“[T]his chapter focuses on South Africa – with its century-long history of mineral-based wealth generation and the recent, formal inclusion of women in the mining industry. It is argued that from a feminist perspective, mining thus far has not constituted a positive development experience for women. This is due to the myriad of occupational challenges faced by the still relatively small numbers of female mine workers, and the yet larger numbers of women negatively affected by the mining industry since its inception in the last quarter of the 19th century. Lahiri-Dutt and Macintyre (2006) have identified that women in mining areas in developing countries are typically not seen as active participants in the economy. Attempting to help reverse this misconception, it is further argued here that suboptimal use of female labour, destruction of community wealth and stunted social reproduction are the overall outcomes of mining for women in South Africa. The argument is demonstrated through discussion of the experiences of various groups of women examined by both academic researchers and advocate-researchers: female asbestos mine workers, female underground mine workers, female agricultural producers affected by mining and female artisanal mine workers” (Valiani & Ndebele, 2018, 267).

Topics: Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2018

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