De Beers, UN Women Extend Their Partnership For A Further Five Years

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De Beers UN Women
Colleagues at Jwaneng Mine, Botswana (Photo by De Beers)

In celebration of International Women’s Day, De Beers Group has announced that it has extended its global partnership with UN Women for a further five years. Joining the newly-formed HeForShe Alliance, De Beers Group commits to increasing the representation of women in technical and leadership roles within its business, as it works towards achieving gender parity across its workforce by 2030 as part of its Building Forever sustainability goals.

The five-year commitment is focused on overcoming some of the historic barriers to women’s advancement in science and technology. De Beers Group will work to enhance talent development and succession programmes, extending training and awareness activities to encourage dialogue and challenge stereotypes, conducting regular reviews based on metrics and ongoing feedback, and enabling access to STEM careers and education.

De Beers UN Women
Portrait of Deanna Clarke, female Haul truck driver, Gahcho Kué mine, Canada

De Beers Group has been a UN Women partner since 2017. Since then, it has accelerated the advancement of women across its organisation by increasing the appointment rate into senior leadership from 22 per cent to 40 per cent and the representation of women in senior leadership from 17 per cent to 30 pert cent.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group and UN Women HeForShe Champion, said: “We are thrilled to be extending our partnership with UN Women for another five years and to be joining the newly-formed HeForShe Alliance. 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 a comprehensive range of talent 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 resulted in new challenges to address.”

De Beers UN Women
High School girls during STEM workshop in South Africa

Katie Fergusson, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Impact, De Beers Group, said: “We’ve made 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 particular focus on technical roles, where women remain underrepresented globally.”

As part of the deepened partnership, De Beers Group will invest an additional US$3 million to extend the AWOME (Accelerating Women-Owned Micro-Enterprises) programme in southern Africa, building on the US$3 million funding the Group had already committed to support women and girls in its producer partner countries. The AWOME programme, launched in 2017 in partnership with UN Women, has provided tailored business training and mentorship to more than 1,000 women entrepreneurs in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa to date, as well as qualifying over 50 local trainers to ensure the programme’s sustainable future.

“Our commitments announced today to continue our journey towards gender parity in our workforce and to invest an additional US$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. 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,” added Cleaver.

In addition, more than 50 scholarships have been granted to young women in Canada to pursue STEM opportunities and more than 900 girls and young women in southern Africa have taken part in STEM workshops, ideations’ and mentorship programmes run in partnership with WomEng.

De Beers UN Women
Employee sorting through rough diamonds with loupe, GSS Botswana

Through its Building Forever goals, De Beers Group has committed to supporting 10,000 women micro-entrepreneurs by 2030, as well as engaging a further 10,000 girls in STEM.

Bruce Cleaver has been a UN Women HeForShe Champion since 2017 and will continue to be a champion over the coming five years, spearheading and advocating transformative change across De Beers Group, as well as the wider diamond value chain and beyond.

Edward Wageni, Global Head of HeForShe, said: “We are excited to continue and deepen our partnership with De Beers Group, and we are grateful for Bruce Cleaver’s ongoing commitment to address some of today’s most pressing gender issues, not only internally but also in the communities that De Beers Group operates in. We are positive that his leadership on this topic will inspire others to also take action.”

De Beers Group is committed to ensuring all diamonds are sourced in a manner that honours the social, ethical, and environmental expectations shared with its customers. The UN Women partnership is one initiative that ensures diamonds have a positive impact along their incredible journey and the brand’s long-term commitment to Building Forever. 

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