Gender & Mining: Strategies for Governing the Development of Women in Lihir, PNG


Hemer, Susan R. 2014. “Gender & Mining: Strategies for Governing the Development of Women in Lihir, PNG.” Working Paper, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

Author: Susan R. Hemer


The negative impacts of mining on local communities, and particularly women in the Pacific, are well documented. It is acknowledged that mines are notoriously male dominated, and women struggle to be heard in negotiations between communities and mines, as well as to gain the benefits of mine related development. In recent years in attempts to address these issues, there have been calls to examine the interface between gender and mining more fully, and to mainstream gender in all aspects of mining. This paper takes its lead from recent research that aims to move beyond the ‘negative impacts on women’ of mining (Mahy 2011), to instead examine the strategies and resilience of women in mining locations (Rimoldi 2011). In the case of the Lihir Gold mine, there are two key women’s organisations that work for women’s development: the Petztorme Women’s Association which draws its membership from the Catholic and United Churches, and the Tutorme Association which developed from a Sewing Centre. These two organisations, however, have developed very different strategies to advance the position of women. Through an analysis of this case, the paper argues that gender mainstreaming has not been effectual at the local level in Lihir, and that instead women continue to gain their status from their role as guardians of the future through children, youth and health.

Topics: Development, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Livelihoods, Political Participation Regions: Oceania Countries: Papua New Guinea

Year: 2014

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