Engendering the Global Financial and Economic Crisis: Unveiling the Links between Formal and Informal Sectors in the Mining Regions in Zambia and Assessing the Gender Implications


Namatovu, Regina, and Cristina Espinosa. 2011. “Engendering the Global Financial and Economic Crisis: Unveiling the Links between Formal and Informal Sectors in the Mining Regions in Zambia and Assessing the Gender Implications.” International Journal of Business and Social Science 2 (20): 66–79.

Authors: Regina Namatovu, Cristina Espinosa


The history of previous economic crises reveals devastating effects for the poor and vulnerable, with strong evidence of differentiated impacts for women and men. Reports on the recent economic crisis (2008/9) that severely hit Zambia’s mining sector confirm the negative impacts of the crisis on the livelihoods of workers within the formal sector in the mining regions. Female and male workers in the informal sector associated with and dependent upon the formal mining sector have also been impacted by this crisis, although these impacts remain underreported. Due to differentiated impacts of the crisis for women and men, the livelihoods and the gender roles within families in the mining regions have dramatically changed. This case study assesses the implications of the economic crisis in the mining regions of Zambia, from a gender perspective, highlighting the interconnectedness between the formal and informal sectors and how the negative effects on one have a spillover effect on the other. The study makes visible the gendered impact of the economic crisis on local livelihoods in Africa, for those engaged in tradable and in non tradable sectors, debunking the assumption that local populations that are not directly engaged in economies linked to global markets experience less severe consequences of the global crisis.


  • Policy recommendations: economic diversification to guard against shocks, greater allocation of financial resources to healthcare and infrastructure, gender-responsive budgets to “lighten burden of unpaid care work” (76)


“The research question guiding this inquiry is: How did the livelihoods and gender relations of the families depending either on direct employment or on the informal sector servicing the mining sector change after the economic crisis handicapped the mining sector in Zambia’s Copperbelt?” (67)

“Women’s over-representation in the informal sector, which offers lower wages and no social protection or benefits, made them more vulnerable to the negative effects of the crisis, as compared to men employed mostly in the formal sector.” (67)

“Between 2009 and 2010, regional mining output was anticipated to further decline by 23 percent and by 2020, the aftermath of the crisis would spread to manufacturing, construction and service sectors with broader impacts on national economies of countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, the DRC (200,000 jobs lost), and South Africa (30,000 jobs lost).” (68)

“In addition to a negative economic environment, women in the informal sector faced the competition from male workers laid off from the formal sector. Dramatic cuts in the public health sector budget (25.3 percent) resulted from the fall in government revenue and contributions from donor agencies. The care provisioning role shifted from the government and private sector (mining companies) to poor women and girls who had to shoulder this responsibility, in the context of increased poverty and vulnerability.” (69)

“Mining regions such as Ndola, Kitwe and Chingola have recorded increased sex worker activity since November 2008 (first quarter of the crisis), and these regions bear the highest HIV prevalence rates at 26.6 percent, much over the national average of 15 percent.” (75)

Topics: Economies, Care Economies, Poverty, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Globalization, Health, HIV/AIDS, Households, Infrastructure, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Political Economies Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zambia

Year: 2011

Homosexuality, Sex Work, and HIV/AIDS in Displacement and Post-Conflict Settings: The Case of Refugees in Uganda


Nyanzi, Stella. 2013. “Homosexuality, Sex Work, and HIV/AIDS in Displacement and Post-Conflict Settings: The Case of Refugees in Uganda.” International Peacekeeping 20 (4): 450-68.

Author: Stella Nyanzi


This article aims to disrupt the silence, invisibility and erasures of non-heteronormative sexual orientations or gender identities, and of sex work, in HIV/AIDS responses within displacement and post-conflict settings in Africa. Informed by Gayle Rubin's sexual hierarchy theoretical framework, it explores the role of discrimination and violation of the rights of sex workers and of gender and sexual minorities in driving the HIV/AIDS epidemic during displacement. Specific case materials focus on ethnographic research conducted in urban and rural Uganda. Recommendations for policy, practice and programmes are outlined.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Health, HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Rights, Sexuality Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2013

Women, Poverty, and AIDS: Sex, Drugs, and Structural Violence


Farmer, Paul, Margaret Connors, and Janie Simmons. 1996. Women, Poverty, and AIDS: Sex, Drugs, and Structural Violence. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.

Authors: Paul Farmer, Margaret Connors, Janie Simmons


“Moving beyond a simple biomedical model, this book compels us to view AIDS in women in a wholly new way, as an inescapable even in lives devalued by the forces of poverty, racism and sexism. This extraordinary multidisciplinary effort should serve as the guidebook for those who want to understand how AIDS has become a leading killer of young women in a mere decade.”—Deborah Cotton, M.D.

This second edition of the groundbreaking Women, Poverty and AIDS reviews the massive epidemic sweeping Sub-Saharan Africa and many other parts of the Third World. As Dr. Joia Mukherjee reveals, the unfolding tragedy is a double one: drugs could be saving lives but are made unavailable while millions die. (Amazon)

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Health, HIV/AIDS, Political Economies, Race, Violence

Year: 1996

Morality and Sexual Rights: Constructions of Masculinity, Femininity and Sexuality Among a Group of South African Soldiers


Mankayi, Nyameka. 2008. “Morality and Sexual Rights: Constructions of Masculinity, Femininity and Sexuality Among a Group of South African Soldiers.” Culture, Health & Sexuality 10 (6): 625-34. doi:10.1080/13691050801950884.

Author: Nyameka Mankayi


This paper describes how South African soldiers draw on notions of gender, sexuality and morality in their constructions of identity and heterosexual sexuality. Popular discourses around HIV and AIDS in South Africa and elsewhere have highlighted the centrality of notions of morality, many of them problematic, in the response to the epidemic. In Southern Africa, the centrality of heterosexuality to HIV transmission has triggered a focus on morality in sexuality, including calls for abstinence or, in married relationships, monogamy. This paper discusses the findings of a research study that explored male soldiers' constructions of masculinity, sexuality and risky sexual practices. Discourses that emerged reflected dominant attitudes regarding men and women's sexual rights and, in particular, the moralisation of women's sexuality.

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Health, HIV/AIDS, Sexuality Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2008

The Need for Priority Reproductive Health Services for Displaced Iraqi Women and Girls


Chynoweth, Sarah K. 2008. “The Need for Priority Reproductive Health Services for Displaced Iraqi Women and Girls.” Reproductive Health Matters 16 (31): 93–102.

Author: Sarah K Chynoweth


Disregarding reproductive health in situations of conflict or natural disaster has serious consequences, particularly for women and girls affected by the emergency. In an effort to protect the health and save the lives of women and girls in crises, international standards for five priority reproductive health activities that must be implemented at the onset of an emergency have been established for humanitarian actors: humanitarian coordination, prevention of and response to sexual violence, minimisation of HIV transmission, reduction of maternal and neonatal death and disability, and planning for comprehensive reproductive health services. The extent of implementation of these essential activities is explored in this paper in the context of refugees in Jordan fleeing the war in Iraq. Significant gaps in each area exist, particularly coordination and prevention of sexual violence and care for survivors. Recommendations for those responding to this crisis include designating a focal point to coordinate implementation of priority reproductive health services, preventing sexual exploitation and providing clinical care for survivors of sexual violence, providing emergency obstetric care for all refugees, including a 24-hour referral system, ensuring adherence to standards to prevent HIV transmission, making condoms free and available, and planning for comprehensive reproductive health services.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Girls, Health, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, Humanitarian Assistance, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against Women Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq, Jordan

Year: 2008

How Does the Mining Industry Contribute to Sexual and Reproductive Health in Developing Countries? A Narrative Synthesis of Current Evidence to Inform Practice


Dawson, Angela J., and Caroline S. Homer. 2013. “How Does the Mining Industry Contribute to Sexual and Reproductive Health in Developing Countries? A Narrative Synthesis of Current Evidence to Inform Practice.” Journal of Clinical Nursing 22: 3597–609. doi:10.1111/jocn.12191.

Authors: Angela J. Dawson, Caroline S. Homer


Aims and objectives

To explore client and provider experiences and related health outcomes of sexual and reproductive health interventions that have been led by or that have involved mining companies.


Miners, and those living in communities surrounding mines in developing countries, are a vulnerable population with a high sexual and reproductive health burden. People in these communities require specific healthcare services although the exact delivery needs are unclear. There are no systematic reviews of evidence to guide delivery of sexual and reproductive health interventions to best address the needs of men and women in mining communities.


A narrative synthesis.


A search of peer-reviewed literature from 2000–2012 was undertaken with retrieved documents assessed using an inclusion/exclusion criterion and quality appraisal guided by critical assessment tools. Concepts were analysed thematically.


A desire for HIV testing and treatment was associated with the recognition of personal vulnerability, but this was affected by fear of stigma. Regular on-site services facilitated access to voluntary counselling and testing and HIV care, but concerns for confidentiality were a serious barrier. The provision of HIV and sexually transmitted infection clinical and promotive services revealed mixed health outcomes. Recommended service improvements included rapid HIV testing, the integration of sexual and reproductive health into regular health services also available to family members and culturally competent, ethical, providers who are better supported to involve consumers in health promotion.


There is a need for research to better inform health interventions so that they build on local cultural norms and values and address social needs. A holistic approach to sexual and reproductive health beyond a focus on HIV may better engage community members, mining companies and governments in healthcare delivery.

Relevance to clinical practice

Nurses may require appropriate workplace support and incentives to deliver sexual and reproductive health interventions in developing mining contexts where task shifting exists.

Keywords: developing countries, mining, nurses, sexual and reproductive health interventions

Topics: Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Health, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, Livelihoods

Year: 2013

Men's Perceptions of Women's Rights and Changing Gender Relations in South Africa: Lessons for Working With Men and Boys in HIV and Antiviolence Programs


Dworkin, Shari L., Christopher J. Colvin, Abigail M. Hatcher, and Dean Peacock. 2012. "Men's Perceptions of Women's Rights and Changing Gender Relations in South Africa: Lessons for Working With Men and Boys in HIV and Antiviolence Programs." Gender & Society 26 (1): 97-120.

Authors: Shari L. Dworkin, Christopher J. Colvin, Abigail M. Hatcher, Dean Peacock


Emerging out of increased attention to gender equality within violence and HIV prevention efforts in South African society has been an intensified focus on masculinities. Garnering a deeper understanding of how men respond to shifting gender relations and rights on the ground is of urgent importance, particularly since social constructions of gender are implicated in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As social scientists collaborating on a rights-based HIV and antiviolence program, we sought to understand masculinities, rights, and gender norms across six high HIV/AIDS seroprevalence provinces in South Africa. Drawing on focus group research, we explore the ways that men who are engaged in HIV and antiviolence programming can often be simultaneously resistant to and embracing of changes in masculinities, women’s rights, and gender relations. We use our findings on men’s responses to changing gender relations to make suggestions for how to better engage men in HIV and antiviolence programs.

Keywords: masculinity, gender equality, women's rights, South Africa, HIV prevention

Topics: Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, HIV/AIDS, Nonviolence, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2012

Shan women and girls and the sex industry in South Asia; political causes and human rights implications


Beyrer, Chris. 2001. “Shan women and girls and the sex industry in South Asia; political causes and human rights implications.” Social Science & Medicine 53, 543-50.

Author: Chris Beyrer


The human rights abuses which occur during civil conflicts pose special threats to the health and lives of women. These can include rape, sexual violence, increased vulnerability to trafficking into prostitution, and exposure to HIV infection. The long-standing civil conflict in the Shan States of Burma is investigated as a contributing cause to the trafficking of ethnic Shan women and girls into the Southeast Asian sex industry, and to the subsequent high rates of HIV infection found among these women. The context of chronic human rights abuses in the Shan states is explored, as well as the effects of recent forced population transfers on the part of the Burmese Military Regime. Rights abuses specific to trafficked women may further increase their vulnerability to HIV and other STD. The need for a political resolution to the crisis in Burma is discussed, as are approaches aimed at preventing trafficking, empowering women already in the sex industry, and reducing the risks of HIV and other STD among these women and girls.

Keywords: Shan, Burma, Trafficking, human rights, HIV/AIDS, sex industry



“Given the chronic state of poverty, uncertainty, and threats to life and well-being, it should not be surprising that so many Shans have fled the Shan States, as refugees and as migrant or contracted workers to Thailand. Nor should it be surprising that trafficking networks have developed to move these workers from Shan areas into Thailand and onward to work sites throughout the country. (Beyrer, 1998?) The Thai government’s bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 375,000 Burmese, at least 2/3 of whom are Shans, were working illegally in Thailand in 1997. The Thai government and NGOs all agree however, that the actual figures are much higher, and typical estimates ranged from 900,000 to 1.2 million in 1997. During Thailand’s long economic “boom” period, these workers were tacitly welcomed, and did a significant portion of Thailand’s manual labor, on construction crews, road building, as agricultural and forest workers, and for women, as domestics and in the sex industry. In all of these industries, including sex work, Shan workers are illegal, vulnerable to exploitation, and subject to harassment and arrest by the Thai authorities.” (544-545)

“Although abduction happens, as does outright sale of daughters among the poorest of the poor, the trafficking road usually starts with a job offer. A girl is offered work as a waitress, a domestic, or in manual labor. Her family usually gets some money as an advance payment charged against future labor…This payment is the start of the debt-bondage. There are a limited number of trafficking routes into Thailand and all require bribes along the way. The three principal trafficking routes have been established through interviews with trafficked women. They include the Kengtung-Tachilek-Mae Sai-Chiang Rai route, a river route from eastern Shan State on the Kok river, to Mai Ai at the northern end of Chiang Mai Province, and down to Fang, and a route slightly further south, which crosses from the Shan hills to the Thai Province of Mae Hong Sorn. The bribes required to cross these borders are added to the women’s debt.” (546) 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Gender, Women, Girls, Health, HIV/AIDS, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Myanmar, Thailand

Year: 2001

Sexual Violence Legislation in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Need for Strengthen Medico-Legal Linkages


Nduku, Kilonzo, Njoki Ndung’u, Nerdi Nthamburi, Caroline Ajema, Miriam Taegtmeyer, Sally Theobald, and Rachel Tolhurst. 2009. “Sexual Violence Legislation in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Need for Strengthen Medico-Legal Linkages.” Reproductive Health Matters 17 (23): 10–19

Authors: Kilonzo Nduku, Njoki Ndung’u, Nerdi Nthamburi, Caroline Ajema, Miriam Taegtmeyer, Sally Theobald, Rachel Tolhurst


Six sub-Saharan African countries currently have laws on sexual violence, including Kenya, and eight others have provisions on sexual violence in other legislation. Effective legislation requires functioning medico-legal linkages to enable both justice to be done in cases of sexual violence and the provision of health services for survivors of sexual violence. The health sector also needs to provide post-rape care services and collect and deliver evidence to the criminal justice system. This paper reviews existing data on sexual violence in sub-Saharan Africa, and summarises the content of sexual violence legislation in the region and the strengths and weaknesses of existing medico-legal linkages, using Kenya as a case study. Many sub-Saharan African countries do not yet have comprehensive post-rape care services, nor substantial co-ordination between HIV and sexual and reproductive health services, the legal and judicial systems, and sexual violence legislation. These need to be integrated by cross-referrals, using standardised referral guidelines and pathways, treatment protocols, and medico-legal procedures. Common training approaches and harmonised information across sectors, and common indicators, would facilitate government accountability. Joint and collaborative planning and working at country level, through sharing of information and data between the different systems remain key to achieving this.

Topics: Health, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, International Law, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa

Year: 2009

An Issue of Environmental Justice: Understanding the Relationship Among HIV/AIDS Infection in Women, Water Distribution, and Global Investment in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa


Lewis, Nghana. 2009. “An Issue of Environmental Justice: Understanding the Relationship Among HIV/AIDS Infection in Women, Water Distribution, and Global Investment in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa.” Black Women, Gender & Families 3 (1): 39–64.

Author: Nghana Lewis


This essay contributes to debates about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women of African descent by juxtaposing two challenges facing rural sub-Saharan African women today: HIV/AIDS and the water crisis. When analyzed in juxtaposition and in the specific context of rural sub-Saharan Africa, the HIV/AIDS and water crises represent an issue of environmental justice. The remediation of these two crises requires comprehension of the interrelations among the political history of sub-Saharan Africa. It requires an understanding of the policies driving global relief efforts that target rural sub-Saharan populations. And it requires insight into the socioeconomic needs of rural sub-Saharan African women as well as the cultural resources among this population that can be mobilized to help resolve the problem.


Lewis argues that the origin of the current water and health crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa can be traced at least in part to the abrupt societal structural shifts that came about as a result of decolonization. Lewis’s descriptions of the formative reconstruction (and the heavy privatization) that took place in Africa after the colonial system broke down reflect the development processes that take place in post-conflict areas. The crux of the article is Lewis’s argument that the HIV/AIDS epidemic should be framed as a crisis of environmental justice and that doing so would not only facilitate unprecedented public and private sector engagement at the intersection of water and women’s health, but would also empower women with knowledge and resources needed to connect their daily struggles with HIV/AIDS to the politics of water scarcity.


“There is no question that the illicit economic and political engineering that took place during Africa’s period of decolonization to vest authority in African elites provides the proper context for comprehending the exigencies of sub-Saharan Africa’s current water crisis.” (46)

“In their daily search for clean water, women in rural sub-Saharan Africa literally and symbolically walk the social, economic, and geographic paths along which, scholars argue, the HIV/AIDS epidemic can be mapped.” (48)

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Environment, Gender, Women, Health, HIV/AIDS, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, International Organizations Regions: Africa

Year: 2009


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