Grinnell In The News

Research by Assistant Professor Leif Brottem Suggests Mining can be Empowering for Women in Mali

Assistant Professor Leif Brottem wrote a commentary piece for Reuters in which he argues that women working in gold mines in Mali may find an opportunity to escape from poverty or increase independence.

Women working in the mines would be the first to say that the work is brutal and uncertain. When I spoke with some of them during a recent visit to Mali, they were clear about the dangers inherent in digging and moving piles of rocks in the hopes of finding a few grams of gold.

But the money they can make gives women financial autonomy and power that would be unimaginable if they remained in their villages to work on their husbands’ farms. Despite its flaws, low-tech artisanal mining empowers them in a way little else does.

Read the full article, Women miners shouldn't be seen as victims.