Exploring the Challenges, Opportunities and Experiences of Women in Mining in Zvishavane District of the Midlands Province in Zimbabwe

The principal dimension of segregation in the Extractive Industry is the degree to which men and women are benefitting differently across the mining value chain. This is despite years of advocacy for gender equality in accessing and controlling mining resources. Arguably, the mining industry has remained a de’ facto male preserve symbolized by pervasiveness of socioeconomic restrictions on women. Many studies have tried to masculinize participation in the extractive industry and as such, very little literature focuses on participation along the axis of gender power relations. For example, when one considers ownership of many lucrative mining claims, processing plants and mineral markets, an insignificant percentage of these are owned by women. Dimensions on discrimination against women in the extractive industry have remained partly addressed, passed over or discussed from a gender “neutral’ standpoint. While there has been much pomp and fare about gender equality in Zimbabwe, women in mining are being failed at supposedly fairness from a legal and policy perspective. According to the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development, inequality gaps between men and women in the mining sector are too glaring to ignore. This study seeks to broaden an understanding of the position of women in the extractive industry. This was done by interrogating the discrimination that characterize the experiences of women in the extractive industry. The study dwelt on the opportunities, challenges and experiences of women miners and women mining host community members in Zvishavane District of the Midlands Province in Zimbabwe.