Working in a Boom-Town: Female Perspectives on Gold-Mining in Burkina Faso


Werthmann, Katja. 2009. “Working in a Boom-Town: Female Perspectives on Gold-Mining in Burkina Faso.” Resources Policy 34 (1-2): 18–23. doi:10.1016/j.resourpol.2008.09.002.

Author: Katja Werthmann


In Burkina Faso, informal mining camps attract girls and women from rural areas because they offer a variety of income generating activities and access to urban consumer goods. Moreover, migration to the mines also allows for a different life-style and greater personal freedom. On the other hand, by going to the mining camps, girls and women risk acquiring a bad reputation in their communities because they are suspected of having illicit sexual relationships. In fact, relationships with gold miners and the material benefits connected with them are among the lures of the gold mines. Thus, from a female perspective migration to the gold mines is fraught with ambivalence, which is expressed in songs performed by female day labourers.

Keywords: Burkina Faso, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), informal gold-mining, gender

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Girls, Livelihoods, Sexuality Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Burkina Faso

Year: 2009

© 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