Applicable SDG: SDG 5: Gender Equality
Mining has traditionally, and continues to be, a male dominated industry. Over the years more and more women have been entering the industry at all levels, from house keeping to geologists/engineers and now to management and executive levels. We pride ourselves on being an equal opportunity employer. At Lucara, women in leadership roles continues to be strong with representation on the Board, Executive (75%), at our wholly owned company Lucara Botswana where our Managing Director and CFO are both women and at the management level at our Karowe Mine. We are the first diamond mining company to promote a woman to the position of Managing Director in Botswana. As a Canadian company operating abroad, it is important that we put into practice those targets that we set in Canada. Hiring and promoting women provides an example to young women and shows them what is possible. Through our outreach and community initiatives, we are able to provide positive messaging and mentorship to girls and young women. Additionally, through our outreach, initiatives and programs, we are tackling the issue of gender based violence. This issue has heightened during the pandemic. We have increased our efforts and outreach and have partnered with other organizations. Safe guarding girls and women, providing opportunities for them through direct employment and community investments is a priority for Lucara Diamond Corp.
There are four areas that our initiatives and programs fall under: 1) direct employment; 2) community investments; 3) outreach targeted at girls and young women and, 4) addressing gender based violence.
1) We are an equal opportunity employer. This means that no bias is made based on gender during the hiring process and it means that there is no pay disparity based on gender. At Lucara, men and women who do the same job are paid equally. Mining continues to be a male dominated industry. Through our outreach and education programs at local schools, we encourage girls and young women to continue pursuing the STEM subjects and our female employees act as motivational speakers and mentors. Within our organization, training and succession planning plays a key role in providing our female workforce opportunities for advancement. Having women in leadership roles inspires our female workforce to continue to pursue these opportunities. Our female representation in leadership includes: at the Board level, 3 out of 7 members are women; at the Executive level, 3 out of 4 members are women; at Lucara Botswana the Managing Director and CFO are women; and, at the Karowe Mine, 11 of the leadership positions are held by women.
2) Providing opportunities for women is a critical component of our community investments. Three of our four recipients of our Karowe Entrepreneur Fund were women. Our Karowe Village Initiative (KVI) is focused on investing in and developing community-driven projects and initiatives. Agricultural projects are playing a key role in the KVIs and women play a key role in agriculture in Botswana. Our Mokubilo Farm Project created 15 full time jobs, 12 of which are held by women. These women also train other women.
3) Our outreach program in the schools is aimed at all students, however, we do pay particular attention to reaching girls and young women. Scholarship programs are set up each year in the local schools to encourage students to maintain and continue their studies. Our female employees attend assemblies and career fairs to speak to the opportunities and possibilities in the mining industry for women. This year, we sponsored and participated in First Lady Neo Masisi’s ‘Nna ke Naledi’ (I am a Star) initiative, which aims to positively change the lives of young girls between the ages of 8 and 18.
4) Incidence of gender based violence (GBV) has increased during the pandemic. In response we have increased our efforts to combat it. We have developed educational materials and programs that are delivered and provided to our employees. Our community relations team takes these materials and programs to the villages. We have organized town hall meetings and partnered with organizations to develop commercials that speak to the importance of ending and reporting GBV. We have a counsellor on site for employees and we have partnered to set up an anonymous line for reporting. We have provided funding to refurbish and build shelters for women.
1) In our direct employment we are seeing a steady increase in the number of women employed (92 in 2019, up from 80 in 2018), as well as the number of women in leadership roles. We are also seeing an increase in the number of women employed by our contractors. At Lucara, our contractors are included in all of our training programs and participate in all initiatives.
2) In our community investments we have seen continued training and skill development with little to no turn-over of employed women. Our investments continue to expand with new opportunities. We are seeing a steady increase in the number of female entrepreneurs.
3) We continue to follow our award recipients and work with the school to track the progress of the students. Long term we are hopeful that there will be a measured increase in the number of young women pursuing post secondary education.
4) Our efforts to combat GBV continue. We keep the conversation going through our initiatives and programs.
Internally our commitments to the SDGs have been adopted by every department at every level. Through education, initiatives and programs we continue to highlight the importance of gender equality. A key component of the education has been identifying that being an equal opportunity employer alone is not enough. We need to be an active participant in the outreach to girls and young women to encourage them to pursue their education and to set goals. We need to be an active participant in assisting female students, through mentorship and scholarship programs, to continue their studies. We need to actively recruit and retain women in our workforce. We need to provide training opportunities and succession plans to promote women in our workforce. We have identified these, and more. We work with our Human Resources Department who work with the managers to develop training programs and succession plans to ensure that these opportunities are available to our female employees.
Externally we are present in the local schools. We participate in local, regional and national initiatives. We present in communities and share informational materials. We work with communities to develop community-driven projects and initiatives. We partner with other organizations who are tackling gender equality.
During COVID-19, we have seen an increase in the incidence of gender based violence. We are aware that this impacts our employees either directly or indirectly. We have a campaign against GBV and through this campaign we have held site wide stand downs (shut downs) to bring all employees together to share information, discuss the issues, provide some guidance (from experts invited to attend these meetings). We have counsellors on site for employees to meet with and have set up an anonymous line for reporting. We have provided additional training to our managers around GBV awareness and include a GBV moment (like our safety moments) at each meeting.
We are supporting and participating in the National (Botswana) GBV campaign, established a GBV committee in our closest community, and started awareness campaigns in 19 villages. We are currently developing an awareness campaign with the schools to be delivered to students.