Gendered division of labour and “sympathy” in artisanal and small-scale gold mining in Prestea-Huni Valley Municipality, Ghana


Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the gender relations and dynamics in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is crucial for formalization interventions and gender-sensitive on-site policies in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, there is very little research on how gender influences women's economic opportunities and power relations at ASM sites in Ghana. Drawing from a qualitative research in the Prestea-Huni Valley Municipality, Ghana, this paper examines the local gender dynamics and division of labour in ASM. Findings show that while men were mainly engaged in the extraction – digging, shoveling and loading of women's head pans with mineral ore – and processing work at the colluvial mining sites, women were basically working as labourers for the men. The women were directly involved in three main activities – provision of water on mineralised sand, transportation of gold ore and forewomen role – where they received lower remuneration for their labour. In relation to women's access to “dig and wash” work and hard rock mining sites, there was an element of “gendered sympathy” which involved some power dimensions in ASM. In this paper, the empirical analysis of gendered division of labour in ASM provides the basis to understand the gendered organization of ASM and its management structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-362
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date24 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

I acknowledge Professor Cheryl Doss senior lecturer at the University Oxford Department of International Development for offering excellent comments and constructive criticims for my MPhil thesis, from which this paper is generated.

Since the research involved human participants, ethical approval was provided by the Central University Research Ethics Committee (CUREC), Oxford Department of International Development with reference number, CUREC 1A/ODID C1A 17–032.

This research received field work fund and STAR Grant from Oxford Department of International Development (ODID) and St Antony's College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, respectively. The sponsors, however, played no role in the study design, data collection and data analysis, manuscript preparation, and publication of this article. This research formed part of my MPhil thesis at Oxford University under the supervision of Professor Cheryl Doss at ODID.


  • Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)
  • Gender relations
  • Gendered division of labour
  • Gendered sympathy
  • Women artisanal miners
  • Ghana
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


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