There are over 44 million Artisanal and Small Scale miners globally and 30% of those are women. Women miners don’t have the same market access, control of pricing and benefits from their work as men, we aim to change that. Virtu Gem partners with women’s mining associations in source countries to ensure that we reach women miners and help them get their gemstones on this website. We give women miners access to global markets, so that women miners can control the prices of their gems and they can gain real benefit. We find that the top ways which women miners in our program spend the payments from their gems is, to feed themselves and their family (often extended family), secondly women spend their gemstone revenue on school fees for their children and grandchildren.
The hurdles that women miners have to overcome just to get a gemstone on our website can be extremely challenging and that’s why Woman Power is a team effort. A team is everyone, men too. Virtu Gem estimates that 70% of Malawi Rhodolite is mined by women, it’s our Malawi country coordinator Chiko Manda who is visiting the women where they mine, talking to them about Virtu Gem, assisting the women in formalizing their mining , which is predominantly alluvial, and bringing their rhodolite to market here. It is Kennedy, one of our Zambia Sellers , who has taught Mary Anne how to take her gemstones into the sunlight and get that good winning gemstone photo, that will help her sell. Pauline, the power woman who you see pictured above has risen to the top of the Zambian gemstone trade, not just with her amethyst mine but also in her leadership roles and advocacy with her government. She has built a maternity wing at a local hospital so that women have privacy during childbirth. In every step of her business she has hired women and put them in positions where they can learn a skill. Woman Power is in our mind at every step of the way. When you purchase from our Woman Power collection you join us in the woman power movement.