This year’s Design Atelier is full of gems.
De Beers Group on How It Will Achieve Gender Parity by 2030
The diamond miner and marketer has extended its partnership with UN Women for an additional five years.
The company first partnered with UN Women in 2017, with the goal of increasing female representation in its workforce. Its first milestone was to increase the number of women in senior leadership positions.
By 2020, the female appointment rate increased from 22 percent to 40 percent, with the number of women in senior leadership positions overall rising from 17 percent to 30 percent.
Now, De Beers said it is focusing on achieving gender parity across its entire workforce. (The company uses the International Women’s Forum definition of gender parity, which is anywhere from 40 to 60 percent.)
It’s a member of the newly formed HeForShe Alliance, which brings together global leaders from government, corporations and civil society to develop and share solutions to gender equality’s biggest challenges.
Within the alliance, De Beers is focused specifically on addressing barriers to entry in the workforce for women, and creating a more diverse STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) talent pool, where women have been underrepresented historically.
De Beers Group CEO and UN Women HeForShe Champion Bruce Cleaver said in a press release: “Achieving gender parity across our workforce is a business-critical priority for De Beers Group—not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the only way we will access the full talent pool and achieve our full potential.
“Now more than ever we have a societal imperative to keep working toward gender equality, as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges and we must work hard for sustainable change.”
Senior Vice President, Sustainable Impact, Katie Fergusson, added: “We’ve made really meaningful progress on increasing the representation of women in leadership roles in our business during the past three years, but now we want to accelerate this momentum with a particular focus on technical roles, where women remain underrepresented globally.”
There’s more to De Beers commitment to UN Women.
In 2017 UN Women and De Beers launched Accelerating Women-Owned Micro-Enterprises (AWOME) in southern Africa. Now, De Beers will invest an additional $3 million.
The program has provided business training and mentorship to more than 1,000 female entrepreneurs in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and qualified 50 local trainers so the program can continue.
By 2030, De Beers wants to increase the reach of the program to support 10,000 female micro-entrepreneurs.
Cleaver said, “Our commitments announced today to continue our journey toward gender parity in our workforce and to invest an additional $3 million to continue supporting women entrepreneurs in our host countries in southern Africa are further demonstration of our resolve to be a positive force for progress, and for change.
“We look forward to continuing to work with UN Women and our fellow HeForShe Alliance peers to share learnings, scale impact and accelerate progress over the next five years.”
Additionally, since it began its UN Women partnership, De Beers has granted more than 50 scholarships to young women from underprivileged communities in Canada to pursue STEM education.
De Beers also funded summer science camp for 30 high school girls, and partnered with WomEng in southern Africa to engage more than 900 girls and young women in workshops and mentorship programs.
The company’s new goal is to engage 10,000 girls with STEM by 2030.
The diamond miner and jeweler’s UN Women partnership is part of its internal sustainability program, dubbed Building Forever.
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