Necessity or Choice: Women’s Migration to Artisanal Mining Regions in Eastern DRC

Citation:

Bashwira, Marie-Rose and Gemma van der Haar. 2020. “Necessity or Choice: Women’s Migration to Artisanal Mining Regions in Eastern DRC.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne Des éTudes Africaines 54 (1): 79-99.

Authors: Marie-Rose Bashwira, Gemma van der Haar

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
Women have long remained invisible in representations of artisanal mining in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Based on original field data, this paper seeks to fill that gap. It shows how women come to mining sites with the hope of finding a degree of security, economic possibilities and the start of a new life. Contrary to what dominant discourses on the “resource curse” and sexual violence towards women have suggested, women may find a degree of protection in mining areas. We take the analysis beyond the “push” and “pull” factors with which migration is usually explained, to understand women’s motivation to move into mining areas as complex and changing. The study situates women’s movement to the mines within their life trajectories which are shaped by violence and various forms of insecurity. The notion of social navigation is brought in to understand how they cope with gender discrimination, challenges and risks in the mining economy. The paper shows how push and pull factors merge over time and how some women succeed in creating new sources of revenue and manage to mitigate the situation of vulnerability in which they find themselves.

FRENCH ABSTRACT:
Les femmes sont restées longtemps invisibles dans les représentations de l’exploitation minière artisanale dans l’Est de la République démocratique du Congo. Fondé sur des données originales de terrain, cet article vise à combler cette lacune. Il montre comment les femmes arrivent sur les sites miniers avec l’espoir d’y trouver un degré de sécurité, des opportunités économiques et le début d’une nouvelle vie. Contrairement à ce que les discours dominants sur la « malédiction des ressources naturelles » et la violence sexuelle à l’égard des femmes ont laissé entendre, les femmes peuvent trouver un certain degré de protection dans les zones minières. Nous poussons l’analyse au-delà des facteurs attractifs et répulsifs par lesquels la migration est habituellement expliquée pour comprendre les motivations des femmes à s’installer dans les zonesminières comme quelque chose de complexe et changeant. L’étude situe le déplacement des femmes vers les mines dans leurs trajectoires de vie, qui sont déterminées par la violence et diverses formes d’insécurité. La notion de navigation sociale est introduite pour comprendre comment les femmes font face à la discrimination, aux difficultés et aux risques dans l’économie minière. L’article montre comment les facteurs attractifs et répulsifs fusionnent au fil du temps, et comment certaines femmes réussissent à créer de nouvelles sources de revenu et parviennent à atténuer la situation de vulnérabilité dans laquelle elles se trouvent.

Keywords: migration, mobility, social navigation, women, artisanal mining, violent conflict, eastern DRC, mobilité, navigation sociale, femmes, exploitation minière artisanale, conflit violent, Est de la RDC

Topics: Conflict, Resource Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2020

© 2021 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.