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World Bank Calls for Action to Achieve Gender Equality in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector

According to a new World Bank report, about one-third of the artisanal and small-scale mining workforce is made up of women. This workforce supplies essential minerals for modern technologies and the global energy transition. However, gender discrimination entrenched in mining laws and a lack of regard for the health, safety, and social protection of women miners hinders their rights and economic opportunities.

At the annual Mining Indaba Conference, the World Bank and international development organization Pact released the 2023 State of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector report. This report details gender inequalities in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and offers solutions to improve gender equality and enhance women’s participation. It reviews mining laws in 21 countries and draws on primary data from 1,900 participants.

World Bank Global Director for Energy and Extractives, Demetrios Papathanasiou, emphasized the urgent need for action to ensure the safety and well-being of women artisanal and small-scale miners, both at work and at home. The report advocates for gender-responsive legislation to safeguard women’s rights in mining and build a more sustainable sector.

The report highlights the need to address poor working conditions, sanitation, violence, and domestic work that disproportionately impact women miners. It urges policymakers to address the hazards women face to improve their occupational health and safety in mining environments, and to empower women’s associations and female-led professional groups.

Rachel Perks, World Bank Senior Mining Specialist and co-author of the report, emphasized that women’s empowerment and equal participation in mining are crucial for a more just and prosperous future. It’s critical to create an environment where women artisanal and small-scale miners can enjoy their rights without discrimination.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The World Bank Group.

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