Mining female talent is key on Vale’s people agenda

Valuing diversity and promoting inclusion are ethical imperatives, which are indispensable for a sustainable company. Respecting and including everyone without distinction and believing that because we are different, we have different perspectives on the same challenges, and this can bring simpler and more innovative solutions to our business.

Rodrigo Ribeiro de Araújo is the CEO at Vale in Malaysia. Vale SA, is a Brazilian multinational corporation engaged in metals and mining is the largest producer of iron ore and nickel in the world. 

In this conversation with AsiaBizToday, Rodrigo shares some candid responses on how the mining company is focussed on improving the gender diversity in its workforce by ensuring that everyone, regardless of their singularities, can grow and thrive in the company.

Q. What is the view of company’s Board of Directors on gender balanced workplace?

Eradicating gender inequalities is a huge challenge, but we believe that an approach of inclusion is key to eliminate the barriers that hinder the hiring and retention of women and resulting performance improvement due to gender diversity. In 2019, we set out a bold goal: to double female workforce in Vale by 2030, from 13% to 26%. The strategy of diversity and inclusion is one of our top priorities within the pillar ‘People’.

Q. Has the CEO publicly committed to gender equality? If yes, could you share his/her views?

In 2019 13 percent of Vale’s employees were women. At present, 16,1% percent of Vale’s global workforce are women. As we said, the company aims to increase this to 26 percent globally by 2030. 

As the CEO of Vale in Malaysia, I am committed to supporting this global goal and this has been published on the company’s official communication channels in Malaysia, such as the CEO’s official LinkedIn channel and the company’s Vale in Malaysia Facebook page. 

I am also working closely with the regional HR team, and the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) practice to promote a more inclusive working culture in Malaysia.

Q. Has the company conducted a Gender Audit? If yes, what is the gender balance at the non-executive, executive, senior management and across the workforce?  

Vale in Malaysia tracks parameters, such as the percentage of female participation in workforce, to ensure that the company is on track towards achieving its female participation goal. 

Globally, 16,1% percent of Vale’s workforce are women – the company discloses this figure on its external channels every year. There’s still a long way to go before we can truly achieve parity in this sense, but the company is committed to leading the way towards increasing female participation in the traditionally male-dominated mining sector.

Q. Is the company part of any Charter that works towards gender equality? 

Vale has been adhering to the United Nations’ Women’s Empowerment Principles since 2013 – these principles form a set of guidelines developed by the United Nations (UN) targeted at corporations.

Q. What is the extent of participation of Vale at the Women in Mining global movement and what are expected tangible goals? 

This year, Vale conducted a successful Mining by Women advocacy campaign on its global social media channels, including in Malaysia. The campaign explores the theme of women participation in the mining industry through an effective storytelling campaign.

Through short videos, the web series presents narratives about the personal lives, work routines, and career paths of several Vale employees from operations to leadership, showing that women can find fulfilling work in the mining industry. One of the goals of the web series, besides valuing the employees who already work at the company, is to inspire more women to build a career in the mining industry.

At present, 16,1% percent of Vale’s workforce are women. The company aims to increase this to 26 percent globally by 2030.

Q. What are the policies in place that work in favour of a balanced workplace?

Vale provides maternity leave allocation that is above the statutory requirement in Malaysia. We also conduct regular dialogues and engagements with female staff to allow us to continuously improve our facilities to become more women friendly. 

To deal with the issue of biases, which in most cases limits the hiring of women, Vale is also training its leadership and the entire HR team on these issues.

Q. Does the company have a gender pay gap? If so where and why? 

Women empowerment is an important component in Vale’s overall ESG Strategy. We are also committed to addressing issues, such as accessibility to working mothers and gender pay gap. 

Gender pay gap is a common issue that unfortunately still afflicts many sectors. We track the status this situation in our company, which we report transparently on our website.

Q. Does the company have a strong culture to combat sexual harassment at the workplace?

 Vale in Malaysia, as it is globally, has a well-established mechanism to deal with the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace. The company does not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind, including moral or sexual, and any inappropriate behaviour, whether from a co-worker, manager or contractor can be reported to the Ombudsman’s Office. Vale is also embarking on various diversity and human rights promotion campaign internally to create awareness on the issue and promote honest dialogues and conversations.

Q. Could you share some details on the training and interventions conducted in the company with respect to gender equality?

The company provides training to managers, leaders and the entire HR team to eliminate gender biases. Vale’s senior management team also need to undergo Diversity and Inclusion workshops, as they need to lead by example.

Q. Are there suppliers, customers, partners of the company doing exceptional work in the area of gender balanced workplaces?

Suppliers must follow recommendations of some mandatory documents, among them the Suppliers’ Code of Ethics and Conduct, in which we reinforce that irrespective of one’s gender, everyone has unique talents and the capacity to grow and develop both personally and professionally and we also encourage our suppliers and partners to continually seek to recognize and promote women’s talent and capabilities, reducing the historical and cultural discrepancy in access to opportunities but without creating a discriminatory environment. Our suppliers are also required to declare that they are adhering to Vale’s human rights practices in the areas where they are dealing with the company.