Pioneering Women Miners and Entrepreneurs


The presentation, given during a Lunch and Learn event held by the Women in Mining Arizona Chapter, covers the history of the pioneering women miners and entrepreneurs who operated in the often rugged and remote mines and boom towns of Arizona. The understanding of women’s historical contribution to the American mining industry is often relegated to supporting roles as wives, daughters, teachers, nurses, service industry laborers, and sex workers. Women, for the most part, were excluded from the mining industry during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Despite being barred by superstition and U.S. federal law, women in the industry persisted and flourished as prospectors, assayers, investors, entrepreneurs, mill workers, and engineers. This presentation uses historical photographs and documents to highlight the contributions of women in mining who-against the odds-laid the groundwork for equality in the stopes, smelters, and boardrooms of Arizona.