Women and mining decline in the Free State Goldfields
Sesele, Kentse Berryl
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Studies that look at mining decline and its accompanying economic consequences often focus on empiricism or economic theory. Among the leading economic theories that explain mine closure and economic decline is the resource curse theory. The gender aspects of resource curse are, however, muted. This study uncovered the lived experiences of women within a declining economy and its attendant institutional morass. The feminist critique methodology was adopted by using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions to allow women to express their experience through their lenses. The analysis of the data was done through the use of Atlasti.8. The institutional responses have been captured through the use of structured interviews. These interviews were done at a local mine and the municipality. Thematic analysis was used to process the institutional responses. The study concluded that during mining decline, as the revenue of the municipality dwindles, mine shafts close, governance within the municipality and mine management is eroded. The empowerment of women in both institutions is deprioritised. As crime becomes normalised and pervasive, women take on a life of crime. Men determine the economic ascendancy and women are objectified in the process.