Women miners make the case for changes to Peru’s new National Policy for Artisanal and Small-scale Mining

The National Network of Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) pointed out shortcomings in Peru’s National ASM Policy and highlighted opportunities where public authorities could make it more inclusive. 

Delegations of the National Network of Women in ASM

Maria Reyes, Cecilia Julcarima and Justa Taype are board members for the The National Network of Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (RNM-MAPE), which was created in 2022 with support of the RECLAIM Sustainability! Programme. The network comprises more than 430 women in some of the most important mining regions in Peru, including Puno, Arequipa, Madre de Dios and Junin. The Network’s stated goal is to strengthen, train and support women involved in mining.

The women’s network first presented their their agenda in May 2022, which led to them joining Solidaridad among the speakers at the first edition of the “Titikaka Mining Expo”, in Puno. The event was organized by the regional government and the national Ministry of Energy and Mines to promote best practices in ASM and boost regional development through the formalization of the sector.

The event brought together ministry representatives, mining companies, civil society organizations, cooperatives, and associations that represent women who select gold manually (pallaqueras) from Base la Rinconada and Base Cerro Lunar.

Maria Reyes - President of the Network of Women in ASM in Peru
Maria Reyes is the President of the Network of Women in ASM in Peru

María Reyes, President of the women’s network, gave a lecture at the event, and Secretary Cecilia Julcarima, joined a panel on opportunities for women in the mining industry. Justa Taype, Delegate for the Arequipa region, submitted the network’s petition addressed to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the regional government of Puno, The Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, and the Ministry of Social Development and Inclusion. The document was received by one of the representatives of the Directorate for Mining Formalization (DGFM). 

Network of Women in ASM at TitikakaMining event with Solidaridad
Representatives from the Network of Women in ASM on stage at TitikakaMining event.

The the main challenges flagged by the network include:

  • Ongoing gender inequality in the ASM sector and the lack of recognition of women, in particular those engaged in manual labor selecting gold.
  • The fact that The National ASM policy issued in 2022, though a significant achievement, has not yet demonstrated a positive impact for women in the sector
  • The absence of a gender-focus in the projects to implement the new ASM Policy, and the need to include mining women in training programmes and public consultation processes.
  • The urge to work in a collaborative way to confront gender violence, especially in the Puno region. 

María Reyes pointedly questioned the inaction by authorities on the topic of gender violence: “To the authorities of the Puno Regional Government, La Rinconada still doesn’t have an Emergency Center for Women […] How do you think violence against women in La Rinconada will be resolved and controlled without it? Is this a priority for regional, provincial and district authorities?”

Mauricio Winkelried, manager of Solidaridad mining programme in Latin America, highlighted the relevance of these dialogue spaces with national and international audiences to discuss perspectives and solutions on ASM.

“The President of the Network described in detail the challenges women are facing in the sector. It is important to listen to their testimonies […] In this first edition of the (TitikakaMining) event, we are showing shortcomings; it is important that in the next event we see solutions and progress made.”

Solidaridad finished its participation by pointing out the need to maintain collaboration between the regional governments and the General Directorate for Mining Formalization to enable more dialogue spaces that promote sectoral transformation in the ASM sector. 

Mauricio Winkelried is the mining manager at Solidaridad
Mauricio Winkelried is the mining manager at Solidaridad


RECLAIM Sustainability! is a five-year programme implemented in strategic partnership with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This global programme is active across 17 countries in cocoa, coffee, tea, palm oil, cotton & textiles, and gold; with a special focus on the local food systems in Africa. 

In this programme, we strive for a radical re-balancing of power and genuine transformation that benefits the smallholder farmers, workers and miners at the beginning of the value chains. After all, there can be no genuine sustainability when the people who produce the goods consumed by us all continue living in poverty; when natural resources are not managed sustainably; civic space in many countries is limited or even continues to shrink, and the working conditions of millions of producers are abject.

Network of Women in ASM with Mauricio Winkelried of Solidaridad