Making sense of womenís economic activity within DRCís artisnal gold mining sector

Department For International Development

October 8
15:36 2019


Previous research has demonstrated that women in mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are mostly involved in low-paid and labour-intensive tasks. What is less understood is how female and male miners view themselves, as clearly not all women involved in the mining sector are in the same situation. It is within this context that this briefing seeks to make sense of womens economic activities within the artisanal gold mining sector in Luwhindja and Kamituga.

The research uses mixed methods combining ethnographic observation, face-to-face interviews, focus group discussions and a quantitative survey of 206 women miners in the Kamituga region. The research highlights in particular:

  1. A high rate of dependency is a critical cause of extreme poverty in women miners.

  2. The need for both spouses to work is a significant development in gender relations in artisanal mining in the gold sector.

  3. Women view their own contribution to the household income as relatively unimportant, compared to mens.

Some policy actors and development agencies assume women should be protected from working in gold mining, but the women interviewed in this study wanted to continue, while combining this with other means to supplement their low incomes.

This research is part of the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) programme


Bashwira, M. R. (2019) Making sense of womens economic activity within DRCs artisnal gold mining sector. Briefing. London: Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium.

Making sense of womens economic activity within DRCs artisnal gold mining sector

Published 28 January 2019