De Beers Group has announced a three-year partnership with UN Women to accelerate the advancement of women across its organisation, in its diamond producing countries and in its marketing.
The firm has committed to achieving equality in the appointment of women and men into senior leadership roles, investing in women micro-entrepreneurs and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students in its diamond producing countries and ensuring De Beers’ brands are a positive force for supporting gender equality through all its marketing campaigns.
Working alongside UN Women, governments and communities in its diamond producing countries of Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa, De Beers will invest $3m (£2.2m) to advance the prospects of women and girls by addressing key priority areas.
In Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the programmes will focus on accelerating the growth of women-owned micro-enterprises to enhance the capacity of women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, increase income and create sustainable jobs for themselves and their communities. The capacity-building model will be specifically tailored for each country.
In Canada, De Beers and UN Women will work with the University of Waterloo to provide scholarships and mentoring to young women and girls from underprivileged communities who want to pursue studies in STEM.
These programmes are due to launch in the coming months.
De Beers will also help to accelerate the advancement of women across its organisation by more than doubling the rate of women appointed into senior leadership roles, achieving a fairer playing field in the appointment of women and men into senior leadership by 2020.
A Gender Diversity Steering Group has been established, reporting to the De Beers Group Executive Committee, with involvement from senior women and men across the organisation to meet this commitment.
Beginning earlier this year, group-wide initiatives have already included a review of talent attraction and development processes, the rollout of unconscious bias training, the establishment of a senior management-led reciprocal mentoring programme and the review of policies and recruitment guidelines.
De Beers’ consumer brands Forevermark and De Beers Diamond Jewellers “will leverage the considerable purchasing power and cultural influence” of their diamond marketing campaigns to “serve as a positive force for gender equality”, the firm said.
Both Forevermark and De Beers Diamond Jewellers have already begun commissioning new campaigns, due to run later this year and next year, that are inspired by equality and the evolving role of women in society.
In recognition of De Beers’ commitment to women’s equality, Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, was named a UN Women ‘HeForShe’ Thematic Champion. HeForShe is the UN’s global movement for the acceleration of gender equality and Mr Cleaver is one of eight global Thematic Champions who have committed to implementing policies and actions within their organisation to advance gender equality.
Cleaver said: “Improving the prospects for women and girls advances an entire society and organisation, as everyone benefits from the increased diversity of experience, skills and insight that greater representation of women delivers.
“We are in the early stages of our journey toward gender parity and we know that achieving our goals will require a dedicated and ongoing focus that continues well beyond our initial 2020 target.”
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, under-secretary-general and executive director of UN Women, said: “We are delighted to have De Beers Group on board as a UN Women partner.
“With global organisations like De Beers joining the United Nations movement to achieve gender equality, we are able to reach new and greater audiences to further build global awareness and support for advancing women’s empowerment.”