Women Goldminers on The Mali Catwalk

Published February 15th, 2021 - 08:28 GMT

Gold mining in Africa has a bad rap — particularly when it comes to women. In the gold mining belt of Mali, one of the world’s poorest countries, the victimization lens does great injustice to the hundreds of women mining alongside men. Women make up around half the workforce in Mali’s artisanal gold mines. 

Women working in the mines would be the first to say that the work is brutal and uncertain. But the money they can make gives women financial autonomy and power that would be unimaginable if they remained in their villages to work on their husbands’ farms. 

This day a gold miner presents creations as she takes part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair, in Bamako. 

The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organized during the International Gold Fair. 

The West African country is one of Africa’s biggest gold producers with about 13 mines operated by multinational companies.

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A dresser helps a gold miner to wear a turban in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 20

A dresser helps a gold miner to wear a turban in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

A dresser helps a gold miner to wear a turban in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 20

A dresser helps a gold miner to wear a turban in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

Gold miners are helped to get ready in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHEL

Gold miners are helped to get ready in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

Gold miners are helped to get ready in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHEL

Gold miners are helped to get ready in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

A make up artist gets a model ready, in the backstage, prior to take part, in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MIC

A make up artist gets a model ready, in the backstage, prior to take part, in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

A group of gold miners queue in the backstage after having been selected by the Princess of Burundi, Esther Kamatari, to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at near

A group of gold miners queue in the backstage after having been selected by the Princess of Burundi, Esther Kamatari, to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

A group of gold miners site on the floor in the backstage after having been selected by the Princess of Burundi, Esther Kamatari, to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estim

A group of gold miners site on the floor in the backstage after having been selected by the Princess of Burundi, Esther Kamatari, to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

A former gold miner looks on during the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

A former gold miner looks on during the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

A gold miner presents creations as she takes part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

A gold miner presents creations as she takes part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

A dresser helps a gold miner to wear a turban in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 20
A dresser helps a gold miner to wear a turban in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 20
Gold miners are helped to get ready in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHEL
Gold miners are helped to get ready in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHEL
A make up artist gets a model ready, in the backstage, prior to take part, in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MIC
A group of gold miners queue in the backstage after having been selected by the Princess of Burundi, Esther Kamatari, to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at near
A group of gold miners site on the floor in the backstage after having been selected by the Princess of Burundi, Esther Kamatari, to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estim
A former gold miner looks on during the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
A gold miner presents creations as she takes part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
A dresser helps a gold miner to wear a turban in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 20
A dresser helps a gold miner to wear a turban in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
A dresser helps a gold miner to wear a turban in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 20
A dresser helps a gold miner to wear a turban in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
Gold miners are helped to get ready in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHEL
Gold miners are helped to get ready in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
Gold miners are helped to get ready in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHEL
Gold miners are helped to get ready in the backstage prior to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
A make up artist gets a model ready, in the backstage, prior to take part, in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MIC
A make up artist gets a model ready, in the backstage, prior to take part, in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
A group of gold miners queue in the backstage after having been selected by the Princess of Burundi, Esther Kamatari, to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at near
A group of gold miners queue in the backstage after having been selected by the Princess of Burundi, Esther Kamatari, to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
A group of gold miners site on the floor in the backstage after having been selected by the Princess of Burundi, Esther Kamatari, to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estim
A group of gold miners site on the floor in the backstage after having been selected by the Princess of Burundi, Esther Kamatari, to take part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
A former gold miner looks on during the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
A former gold miner looks on during the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
A gold miner presents creations as she takes part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
A gold miner presents creations as she takes part in a fashion show as part of the first edition of the International Gold Fair Afrik'Or, in Bamako, on February 12, 2021. The Princess of Burundi Esther Kamatari, selected 34 women among gold mines workers in southern Mali, to walk down the catwalk for a fashion show organised during the International Gold Fair. Gold represents 15% of Mali's exports and more than 20% of its GDP estimated at nearly US$20 billion by the end of 2019. MICHELE CATTANI / AFP