The number of women involved in artisanal mining across the globe is increasing. However the focus has been on gold miners. Many women are involved in the mining of gemstones in digging shallow deposits but particularly in sieving and sorting. It is common for women spend many hours a day bent over in streams. Little is known about these women and the long term impacts on the health and opportunities for them to improve their mining practice through innovation and training. This project will consider work practices of women in gemstone mining in different countries and encourage knowledge sharing.
In terms of value addition of colored gemstones, opportunities for women in many countries are limited. The Institute of Gemmology in Madagascar has led one or two projects for women and the Ethiopian government is developing cutting and polishing facilities for women working with opals. This project will document such initiatives and investigate how women are involved in value addition in centers in Asia.