This paper examines women’s “choices” in artisanal gold mining in Tonkolili District, Sierra Leone. It argues that women’s status in Sierra Leone and their socio-economic conditions contribute to the particular economic practices within artisanal gold mining in which they are able to participate. Showing how state interventions are enmeshed in the pre-existing social relations, dependency ties and governance relations in gold mining sites, it examines how gendered norms and practices, combined with governance issues pertaining to the effectiveness of policy in advancing equality, contribute to keeping women in gendered roles and limit their empowerment and full participation in the sector. These norms and relationships largely work against women, keeping them on the margins of the artisanal gold mines even while this economic activity may provide women (and their households) with much-needed financial resources.

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Canadian Journal of African Studies
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Ibrahim, A.F. (Aisha Fofana), Rutherford, B, & Buss, D. (2020). Gendered “choices” in Sierra Leone: women in artisanal mining in Tonkolili District. Canadian Journal of African Studies. doi:10.1080/00083968.2019.1671207