Women who work in mines are still not considered miners, neither in Brazil nor in other countries. This situation makes their payment inferior to men’s.
This is the issue being discussed at a series of conferences called "The Gender Issue and Child Labor in South American Small Scale Mining," in Rio de Janeiro, in southeastern Brazil.
The Mineral Technology Center (CETEM), which belongs to Brazil’s Ministry of Science and Technology, will present a work developed by an expert of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), Ângela Jorge, showing that 10% of all mineworkers in Brazil, approximately 30 thousand, are women.
Of this total, 18% do not earn any money, because they are considered support people, i.e., not directly related to the mining activity. CETEM’s coordinator, Zuleica Castilhos, says the same happens only to 3% of the men. "Women effectively perform the work and receive no professional recognition," says Castilhos.
Zuleica Castilhos gives more examples. She says that in Bolivia, there is no recognition for the work of women who transport the water necessary for gold extraction activities. And in the Brazilian state of Bahia, the same happens to those women who work for cooperatives looking for gems and stones.