Masculinist historiography, either purposively or inadvertently, has tended to present the ancient human endeavour of mining as a male domain in which gender was, to use a technical, engineering term, not much more than just an ‘overburden’, a disposable material that is treated as waste for being marginal to the major purpose of extracting valuable and worthy minerals. As a corrective to this avowed gender-blindness, feminist researchers from a range of disciplines have illuminated the heavily gendered nature of mining as work and an industry, and the gendered labour processes that create gendered impacts on communities, creating gendered places of production and reproduction. Drawing on this large and growing body of literature, this chapter presents the main strands of feminist arguments and brings the political economy approaches closer to the emergent threads of political ecology studies. By doing so, the chapter offers an overview of the ‘industrial’ studies of labour by feminists coupled with feminist writings on the ‘gender selective impacts of mining’ emerging primarily from the studies in less-affluent nations where mining has been expanding rapidly since the 1980s. In particular, the chapter argues that the masculinity of mining as an industry cannot be divorced from the gendered impacts of the industry; a masculine workplace with masculine labour processes is intimately linked to situations where women bear disproportionately heavy burdens of environmental degradation and social disruptions caused by large-scale mining.
|Title of host publication
|Making Sense of Mining History: Themes and Agendas
|Stefan Berger and Peter Alexander
|Place of Publication
|Published - 2020