Media Exclusion, A contributor to under/Misrepresentation & Lack of Visibility of Women in the ASM Sector

WOMEN IN ASM AT WORK: Women in ASM play a crucial initial role in breaking the rocks before they are put in the Ball Mill, famously known as ‘Krasha’, but are paid Tzs. 1,000 for crushing 50 kg sack of rocks. PHOTO by Evans Rubara

According to Southern Africa Gender and Media Progress Study – GMPS 2020, women constitute only 22% of news sources coverage.

The study shows that women?s voices are constantly missing from the news across the various sectors where it constitutes 15% in the science and health, 20% in sports and19% in government and the economy.

The same study indicates that stories on key gender areas including gender-based violence, gender equality and HIV were the fewest among the documented news where GBV constituted only 2.1% and gender equality making only 0.9%.

Of the stories documented, most stories (77%) did not challenge any stereotypes, meaning that these stories continue to support the status quo, perpetuating stereotypes and failing to change the narrative about women. While these numbers may be worrying, stories covering women in Artisanal and Small-scale Miners may be less in this spectrum due to the nature of the sector, context and priority.

In Tanzania, it is estimated that, there are between 1 to 1.5 million Artisanal and Small-scale Miners. Although women are estimated to represent between 25% and 30% of the Tanzania ASM workforce they are often overlooked in both government and private policy formulation, implementation and plans whereas they do not enjoy the same opportunities around access to, control over and benefit from Artisanal and Small-scale Mining activities in their communities.

This exclusion means that women are also under-represented and/or negatively represented in the media both traditional and nontraditional both as sources and researchers of issues.

Evidences from comments by participants attending the training for journalists, organized by Foundation for ASM Development (FADev), showed how women and gender issues are portrayed in the media. The latter contributes to increased exclusion and injustices against women in the ASM sector.

Although evidence shows that, over the past three decades, gender discourse in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining have been shifting, the reporting in these areas remain to be the same.