The global trend of the informalisation of women's work is also evident in what is commonly known as artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) practices. Small mines and quarries are extremely diverse in nature, but comprise a repository of extremely poor people. This article focuses on the gender and livelihood issues and concerns in small mines and quarries of South Asia. In view of the lack of official quantitative data, the research presented here is based on proxy indicators and field surveys. It addresses a gap in existing knowledge in ASM and makes visible gender roles in the informal work in the mines and quarries. The article provides the necessary backdrop, relevant information and interpretation of livelihood needs with a view to sensitising policy makers to the issues rooted in gender.