“Against All Odds”. Female Small Scale Mine Owners in Gwanda, Zimbabwe

  •  Vezumuzi Ndlovu    
  •  Valentine Ndhlovu    
  •  Moreblessing Mpofu    


Historically, the mining sector has been a preserve of males, making it a highly male dominated environment which had very few women. Even in contemporary periods, the mining sector is still largely viewed as a gender “blind” sector to a larger extent. The study sought to explore the challenges faced by female small scale mine owners and how they have managed to survive in the harsh mining environment in which they operate. Study results indicate female mine owners face daunting challenges such as lack of financial capital and high costs associated with mining activities, lack of equipment, lack of technical knowledge of mining, as well as legal and policy constraints. Regardless of these challenges these mining start-ups by women have managed to survive and even grow in the harsh economic and political environment in Zimbabwe. The study concluded that challenges faced by female mine owners can be traced to gender disparity whose genesis is the patriarchal nature of Zimbabwean society and the untenable economic and political climate that has been in existence in Zimbabwe since the year 2000. Given a conducive socio-political and economic environment as well as a permitting legal and policy framework, women entrepreneurs can play a significant role in the economic transformation of the country.

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