Women, Mining and Power in Southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo: The Case of Kisengo

Citation:

Bashwira, Marie-Rose, and Jeroen Cuvelier. 2019. "Women, Mining and Power in Southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo: The Case of Kisengo." The Extractive Industries and Society. In Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2019.02.010

Authors: Marie-Rose Bashwira, Jeroen Cuvelier

Abstract:

Recent decades have witnessed a growing scholarly interest in women’s involvement in ASM, with many authors drawing attention to two frequently occurring trends: the fact that women move to mining areas to escape oppressive gender rules and norms, and the remarkable efforts of women miners to exercise agency in the typically complex and unstable socio-political environments of artisanal mining sites. An important gap in the existing literature is the lack of attention for the differences in agency and the power relations between these women. This article seeks to fill this gap by presenting an ethnographic case study on the so-called mamans moutrousses, a group of women assisting artisanal miners with the drying and cleaning of minerals in coltan mines close to Kisengo, a locality situated in the Congolese Tanganyika province. Drawing inspiration from Vigh’s navigation theory, the work of Honwana, and the spatial approach advanced by Watts and Korf, the article argues that the less successful women in Kisengo’s mining business have only been able to display ‘tactic agency’, while the more successful ones have succeeded in demonstrating ‘strategic agency’.

Keywords: ASM (artisanal and small-scale mining), gender, women, Democratic Republic of Congo, governance, social navigation, agency

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

Year: 2019

© 2020 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.