De Beers Works With UN Women To Advance Gender Equality

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Companies can make a huge contribution to redressing gender balance in our societies. In many parts of the world, women are denied access to education, which greatly compromises their financial independence and reproductive autonomy, and they suffer violence and generally receive lower wages than men, to name only a few of the injustices they endure.

For those and other reasons, South Africa-based diamond producer De Beers has been working to promote gender equality. Its commitment has received recognition from UN Women, the UN arm created to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. On September 20th in New York, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, announced CEO Bruce Cleaver as one of the eight UN Women ‘HeForShe’ Thematic Champions.

On that same date, De Beers revealed its plans to achieve senior role gender parity by 2020. In support of this initiative, the company has established a gender diversity group reporting to top-level management.

Other actions planned are unconscious bias training, a senior manager-led reciprocal mentoring program and a review of policies and recruitment guidelines.

The company also announced an investment of US$1 million a year during the three-year deal to advance women micro-entrepreneurs and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa, De Beers’s producing countries.

The company will focus on micro-entrepreneurs in southern Africa, while in Canada it will collaborate with the UN and the University of Waterloo to mentor and distribute grants to female STEM students from financially excluded communities. Finished programs will be announced soon.

Besides, De Beers’s two consumer brands—Forevermark and De Beers Diamond Jewellers—will work with UN Women to create ads promoting gender diversity by showing women’s many roles in society. The campaigns are expected to start running later this year.

Image credit: De Beers