De Beers wants more women in STEM, eyes gender parity by 2030

De Beers wants more women in STEM, eyes gender parity by 2030
Female employees at De Beers' Jwaneng mine in Botswana

The De Beers Group has further strengthened its commitment to empower women in pursuing science and technology careers within the company as it works towards achieving gender parity by 2030.

The group extended its partnership with UN Women for five more years and joined the new HeForShe Alliance. It also committed to have more women in technical and leadership roles within its business and earmarked an additional US$3 million to support women entrepreneurs in its host countries in southern Africa.

The five-year commitment is focused on overcoming historic barriers to women’s advancement in science and technology, according to the group. De Beers Group said it 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 (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers and education.

De Beers Group has been a UN Women partner since 2017. Since then, it has increased 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 per cent.

Katie Fergusson, senior vice president, Sustainable Impact at De Beers Group, commented, “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.”

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), women in science still face gender bias. Citing a new UNESCO research, women still account for just 28 per cent of engineering graduates, 40 per cent of graduates in computer science, and 33 per cent of all researchers.

De Beers said 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.

It also committed to support 10,000 women micro-entrepreneurs by 2030, as well as engaging a further 10,000 girls in STEM.

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