‘We don't joke with our money’ : Gender-based occupational segregation and women's remuneration negotiations in artisanal and small-scale mining

Francis ARTHUR-HOLMES*, Kwaku ABREFA BUSIA, Sarah KATZ-LAVIGNE

*Corresponding author for this work

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

Abstract

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) narratives often portray women as a monolithic group in relation to men in the sector. Consequently, there is a need to better understand whether women receive the same remuneration for the same tasks performed at the sites or not, and what factors could explain the possible pay differential. In this paper, we explore the negotiation mechanisms through which women, especially those who transport ore in informal ASM spaces, advance their economic interests, using a case of Prestea-Bondaye mining area in Ghana. Drawing from a multiple feminist standpoint perspective, we argue that women in ASM have different ‘social positions’ and diverse experiences which inform their negotiations for better pay with their informal ASM employers. Our findings revealed that women miners used their numerical advantage to request for standardised pay for all women. Issues related to working conditions – namely distance, and the head pans used for carrying mineralised materials – were also identified as factors over which women negotiated for remuneration. Some women leveraged the number of working years and their personalised networks and relations with employers to negotiate for higher remuneration. Further, the uncertainty of gold production and the gold content in the mineralised materials affected women's remuneration after the initial agreements negotiated with their employers. In instances where the gold content was very low, women were paid less than the initial pay they agreed with the employers or nothing at all. However, where the gold content was higher, employers only paid the agreed amount. Based on the income inequalities and conditions of work in ASM spaces, we argue that formalisation efforts should support women miners' efforts to receive better pay and working conditions that include employment contracts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103188
JournalResources Policy
Volume80
Early online date5 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Artisanal and small-scale mining
  • Employment relations
  • Gender
  • Multiple feminist standpoint theory
  • Negotiation mechanisms
  • Occupational segregation

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