(19 Nov 2010) SHOTLIST
1. Wide of San Jose de Oruro
2. Mid of miners walking towards mine entrance
++INTERIOR SHOTS, UNDERGROUND++
3. Wide of miners with headlamps fixed to their helmets walking through mine
4. Mid of miners walking
5. Mid of miners making offerings to "Tio" (a deity who watches over mines)
6. Mid of Tio with offerings
7. Tracking shot of miner descending into mine
8. Mid of woman miner chiselling away rock
9. Close of woman miner hitting chisel
10. Mid of miner Gabriela Urquidi walking through mine with heavy load, followed by other miner
11. SOUNDBITE: (Spanish) Gabriela Urquidi, female miner:
"It's heavy work for both men and women. We just have to get used to it. Here inside the mine you always run risks. Despite all that, I do it, always thinking that the Lord and Tio will protect us. I take the risk to put bread on my family's table. It is hard work."
12. Mid of female miners working
13. Mid of miner gathering ore
14. Close of female miner extracting minerals
15. Wide of main square in town
16. SOUNDBITE: (Spanish) Emiliana Reyes, Director of the Organisation of Female Miners:
"Our fellow miners have always been machos and will die machos. All we women can do at the moment is get trained and do the best we can."
17. Wide of interview with Isaac Meneses, Vice-minister of the Miners' Cooperative
18. SOUNDBITE: (Spanish) Isaac Meneses, Vice-minister of the Miners' Cooperative:
"We can assure you that we are almost up to two-thousand women in our cooperative nationwide, women of almost all ages, including members who started to work at 16 or 15 years of age."
++INTERIOR SHOT, UNDERGROUND++
19. Mid of Urquidi climbing out of mine with heavy pack
20. Mid of Urquidi and other miner coming out of mine entrance
Hundreds of Bolivian women, many abandoned or widowed, have turned to scraping out a modest living in the bowels of the earth extracting gold, silver, zinc, tin, and lead from private and often risky mines.
Gabriela Urquidi, 43, is one of them.
A divorced mother of four, she earns 60 US dollars in a good week in a silver mine in San Jose de Oruro, central Bolivia, selling the metal she extracts with chisel and mallet directly to Chinese businessmen.
"I take the risk to put bread on my family's table. It is hard work," she told AP Television.
As mineral prices have gone up, so have the number of women working in and around Bolivia's mines, said Alvino Garcia, leader of Fencomin, the country's federation of mining cooperatives.
Most work above ground, extracting metal from mine tailings.
Women are not permitted, however, to work in state-owned mines, which are safer and employ the bulk of Bolivia's estimated seventy-thousand miners.
Like male miners, Bolivia's mining women don't have much of a life expectancy: it's only about 45 years, according to national statistics.
The International Labour Organisation estimates that of the world's 11.5 (m) million to 13 (m) million small-scale miners, 3.5 to four (m) million are women.
Urquidi wears a tracks suit to work and a face mask to keep the dust from her lungs as she works underground.
When she started in 2003, many male miners made fun of her. She says she has since been accepted.
She is one of one-hundred women among the one-thousand who work in the San Jose mine, which was state-run for its first century but has been a cooperative since 1989.
They face some resistance from their male co-workers.
"Our fellow miners have always been machos and will die machos so all we women can do at the moment is get trained and do the best we can," said Emiliana Reyes, director of the Organisation of Female Miners.
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