Gendered Governance and Socio-Economic Differentiation among Women Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners in Central and East Africa


Rutherford, Blair, and Doris Buss. 2019. “Gendered Governance and Socio-Economic Differentiation among Women Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners in Central and East Africa.” Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal 4 (1): 63–79. 

Authors: Blair Rutherford, Doris Buss


Drawing on qualitative research data from two gold artisanal and small-scale mining sites (ASGM), one in Democratic Republic of the Congo, the other in Uganda, this paper explores the authority arrangements that govern mining livelihoods in these sites, tracing their gendered forms and operation. The inter-relationship between these arrangements and women’s mining livelihoods is considered to further explore some of the socio-economic differentiation among women miners. In the context of increasing emphasis on formalizing the ASM sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, including through licenses and formation of associations and cooperatives, both the gendered organization of mine site governance and social differential among women miners have important implications. Formalization efforts in the ASM sector are rightly critiqued for failing to account for social differentiation that may allow elites to control licenses and associations. But also important, our research suggests, is the gendered inequalities that characterize existing authority arrangements, and the differentiation among women that may allow some women to organize and not others.

Keywords: artisanal and small-scale mining, gender, women's empowerment, governance, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda

Topics: Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda

Year: 2019

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