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WOMEN TAKING ON KEY TECHNICAL ROLES AT DE BEERS CANADA

Forty per cent of the women employed by De Beers Canada are in technical roles at the company’s mines in northern Ontario and the Northwest Territories, as well as the Canadian Operational Support Centre located in Calgary.

Working to give more Canadian women opportunities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, De Beers Canada is proud to celebrate STEM Day today (November 8th), a day meant to inspire youth to explore and pursue their interests in STEM subjects in post-secondary studies.

In Canada, women make up the majority of young university graduates but are still underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science fields. About 20 per cent of De Beers Canada’s 900 employees are women, including approximately 60 in STEM-related fields, working as geologists, engineers, environmental specialists and other technical roles.

That is one of the reasons De Beers Canada, in partnership with UN Women and Ontario’s University of Waterloo, is developing a three-year, USD$600,000 scholarship and mentoring program to support young women and girls, some of whom will come from underprivileged communities, who want to pursue studies in STEM. These scholarships are due to launch in the coming months.

Opportunities that these scholarships can provide, along with hands-on experience and mentoring, are critical to women and girls starting out in technical fields, says Pamela Ellemers, a De Beers Canada geologist.

Ellemers, who was recently promoted to Manager of Technical Services, is also heading up a major company initiative to improve Gender Diversity and Inclusion across De Beers Canada.

“I’ve been lucky to have a number of mentors during my career,” said Ellemers. “Their investment in and commitment to my development has been invaluable.”

Mary-Anne Hildebrandt, a Resource Geologist at De Beers Victor Mine, says that in order to achieve the best results a variety of perspectives are needed.

“For technical, we can only win by having everyone around the table because of the mosaic of knowledge and skills that exists within the company.”

“Diversity in the workplace helps to promote values that are critical towards our well-being in the office, in the field and at home,” said Nicole Januszczak, a geologist working with De Beers Exploration team in Canada.

“If you are naturally curious, interested in solving problems and like to work creatively and embracing change and innovation then choosing a career in tech services will be a personally satisfying and most rewarding path to explore,” said Michelle Peters, who was recently appointed Superintendent of the extended care and maintenance team at Snap Lake Mine.

NUMBERS:

· In 2011, 59% of all university graduates aged 25-34 in Canada were female.

· Women accounted for 39% of university graduates aged 25-34 with a STEM degree in 2011 compared with 66% of university graduates in non-STEM programs. (Statistics Canada)

· Women are always less likely to choose a STEM program, regardless of mathematical ability. (Statistics Canada)

· Women make up 20% of employees at De Beers Canada with 169 full-time positions.

· Of those women, 40% are employed in technical or STEM-related positions.

For more information on UN Women, click here.

For more information on De Beers’ Gender & Diversity Inclusion program, click here.