De Beers Group extends partnership with UN Women

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This International Women’s Day, De Beers Group announced it has extended its global partnership with UN Women for a further five years.

De Beers Group joins the newly-formed HeForShe Alliance and is committing 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 HeForShe Alliance brings together leaders from across government, the corporate world and civil society to develop the largest set of scalable and sharable solutions for gender equality’s most pressing challenges.

De Beers Group’s commitment is focused on overcoming some of the historic barriers to women entering and advancing in science and technology fields to foster a more diverse talent pipeline within its business.

The five-year commitment will see De Beers Group enhance talent development and succession programmes, extend training and awareness activities to encourage dialogue and challenge stereotypes, conduct regular reviews based on metrics and ongoing feedback, and enable access to STEM careers and education.

De Beers Group has been a UN Women partner since 2017 when it announced its initial commitment to accelerate the advancement of women across its organisation by achieving parity[1] in the appointment of women and men into senior leadership by 2020. Having achieved this, with the appointment rate increasing from 22% to 40% over the three-year period, De Beers Group is now focused on achieving gender parity across its full workforce.

Since 2017, the representation of women in senior leadership overall within De Beers Group increased from 17% to 30%. The extended partnership announced today will play an important role in the company’s mission to achieving gender parity at all levels within the organisation.

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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 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.”

Katie Fergusson, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Impact, De Beers Group, said: “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.”

As part of the extended partnership, De Beers Group will also invest an additional US$3 million to extend the AWOME (Accelerating Women-Owned Micro-Enterprises) programme in southern Africa, which was launched in 2017 in partnership with UN Women.

The programme 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. As part of its Building Forever goals, De Beers Group has committed to supporting 10,000 women micro-entrepreneurs by 2030.

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The additional funding builds on the $3 million De Beers Group has already committed, and will focus on the next three years, where the priority will be to continue expanding the programme’s reach and impact, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which slowed progress throughout 2020.

“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,” Mr Cleaver said.

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.”

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.

PROGRESS ON OTHER COMMITMENTS MADE IN 2017 PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT 

When first announcing its partnership with UN Women in 2017, De Beers Group also committed to working with UN Women and university partners to provide scholarships and mentoring to young women and girls from underprivileged communities in Canada to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) studies.

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Since then, more than 50 scholarships were granted to young women in Canada in partnership with Scholarships Canada, the University of Waterloo and the University of Calgary. Funding was also provided to sponsor up to 30 high school girls to attend summer science camps. De Beers Group also partnered with WomEng in southern Africa, engaging more than 900 girls and young women to date through workshops, ideathons and mentorship programmes. 

De Beers Group has further extended this commitment, with a goal to engage 10,000 girls in STEM by 2030. 

De Beers Group also committed to being a force for gender equality through advertising campaigns and developed Inclusive Marketing Guidelines across its consumer brands to ensure all campaigns act as a positive force for gender equality. Both Forevermark and De Beers Jewellers launched new campaigns, highlighting the work of successful and multifaceted women. 

[1] Defined as between 40% – 60% by the IMFDe Beers Group extends partnership with UN Women