PERU | #GoldenWomen: Advances and challenges for women in small-scale mining
By: Ing. Jhonatan Jaramillo - Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Specialist
Throughout history, the presence of women in most mining activity has been very limited due to the severe working conditions, the high risks to health and safety, and the physical effort required.
However, the reality in many Latin American countries is that many women have had to find ways to ensure income for their respective homes and families, in despite of discrimination and sexism. An example of such mining activity is the "pallaqueo".
The Pallaqueo is born out of necessity for women -many of them single mothers- who have left their homes of origin in search for opportunities to provide for their family, taking advantage of the auriferous mineral that the artisanal miners discard because they do not consider it of value.
In Peru, this activity was made invisible as a result of the Integral Mining Formalisation Process which was initiated by the Ministry of Energy and Mines in 2012, and continued until 2018 when Supreme Decree 018-2018-EM was enacted in recognition and visibility of the work of the Pallaqueras in Puno.
In addition, the Register of Third Parties and Mineral Selection women was created, which allows Pallaqueras to sell their ore freely, although with a daily quota per person. All this represents a great step for the formal economic inclusion of these women. However, the greatest challenge is to replicate the pilot undertken in the Puno region and scaling impact nationally.
Currently, the Pallaqueras situation is still complex and vulnerable, with income that does not allow them to leave the poverty cycle. Solidaridad is currently working in partnership with civil society organisations to raise awareness of the Pallaqueras vulnerable situation with the aim to improve health and safety working conditions, legal representation and incomes.
We can not talk about fair mining or responsible mining, if we do not talk about inclusion.