Resources and Resourcefulness: Roles, Opportunities and Risks for Women Working at Artisanal Mines in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo


Kelly, Jocelyn T.D., Alexandria King-Close, and Rachel Perks. 2014. “Resources and Resourcefulness: Roles, Opportunities and Risks for Women Working at Artisanal Mines in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Futures, May, 1-11. doi:10.1016/j.futures.2014.04.003.

Authors: Jocelyn T. D. Kelly, Alexandria King-Close, Rachel Perks


Two dominant narratives have characterized the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): (1) the horrific abuse of women through sexual violence and (2) the use of “conflict minerals” to fuel the fighting. These two advocacy narratives intersect uniquely in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) towns and can lead to flawed understandings of the true dynamics of women's experiences in these contexts. Mining areas are important centers of economic activity for women, but also pose distinct risks. A simplistic portrayal of women's victimization in mining towns suppress discussion of their participation in non-conflict political and social processes. Yet, these processes are among the most important to ensure that women secure opportunities for long-term, substantive engagement in mining activities. This paper draws on systematically collected qualitative data from two territories in South Kivu, Walungu and Kalehe, to examine how women negotiate these complex social and economic mining landscapes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Their accounts compel a re-examination of development efforts to remove women from the mines altogether, and to look more closely at the measures available to help them realize their legal rights to work safely and fairly in these contexts.

Keywords: women, artisanal and small-scale mining, mining, conflict, war, Democratic Republic of the Congo, sexual violence, human rights, gender

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2014

© 2023 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