Take a look at the evolution of women’s participation in Vale

About Vale


Take a look at the evolution of women’s participation in Vale

On June 1, 1928, Brazilian Celina Coelho was allowed to work on the Vitória-Minas Railway, which has been owned by Vale since it was founded in 1942. By signing her contract, Celina became the first woman in the history of Vale to be included in the company’s labour force.

This Friday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. Nearly 85 years after Celina’s arrival at Vale, the female presence has become increasingly common in Vale, and we are committed to expand this participation. We believe that every person has the capacity to develop personally and professionally, regardless of gender.

The distribution of women in Vale

According to our latest Sustainability Report, between 2010 and 2011 the number of women in the company increased by 28%. In 2011, there were 23,100 women in Vale, which corresponds to 12.3% of the company’s employees, including contractors. The graph shows the distribution of women at the company per job type:

Women in the mining industry

Throughout history, the mining industry has been composed of a predominately male labour force due to the physically demanding activities and the use of heavy equipment. The women in our company not only defy the stereotype that this sector is for men only; they also prove to be essential to achieve our mission of transforming natural resources into prosperity.


Gender Equality

As an effort to recognize and encourage the potential of women, to reduce the historical and cultural discrepancies that impede access to opportunities, but without creating a discriminatory environment, the Gender Equality Project was initiated in Vale, in 2011.

The initiative was launched, along with the creation of a committee made up of members of Vale leaders from across the country. The group toured all Brazilian regions where the company operates, promoting mobilization actions with the involvement of more than 1,200 employees throughout 2012.

The program also sought to involve the company in external initiatives. Last year we participated in important forums of the Brazilian Network of Women Leaders for Sustainability (an initiative of the Ministry of Environment) and acclaimed international events such as Women in the World, which was attended by over 150 leaders, personalities and opinion leaders to discuss the role of women in society.




  • “Working here has been a very valuable learning experience. I have the chance to learn alongside lots of operators who have over 20 years of experience. They are helpful and supportive and are always there for me whenever I need some help. The industry is no longer dominated by men as it used to be. More and more women are starting to become involved in mining.”

    Juliany Lupat, 25 – chemical engineer – Australia

  • “I am a working mother. I have a three-year-old boy, and, like most Chinese women that work outside of the home, there is always that extra challenge of finding a balance between your career and family life. I’m a genius at doing certain things. I am a good manager of my time and I have a good sense of humour when it comes to life. I try to balance work and family, which isn’t always easy to do. Life is colourful; we learn to become more patient and to understand things that we were previously unable to comprehend.”

    Yuanwen ZHAO - procurement analyst – China

  • “It’s difficult to combine a career and family life. The biggest challenge that I have had in my life was being able to continue studying, even though I faced financial difficulties and found myself far away from my family. I started to work when I was 17 and I had some other jobs after that. I started working at Vale in 2011.”

    Maria da Conceição Santos, 33 – administrative assistant – Mozambique

  • “My biggest challenge was leaving my 6-year-old daughter in Maputo so that I could go work for Vale in Tete. I had never been so far away from her and I needed a lot of courage to overcome the distance between us. Today she is back with me again, and things are easier to face. Combining work life with family is a big challenge, as I have to get up very early and get my daughter ready for school while I get myself ready for work. I leave the house at 6:30 a.m. and get home at 7 p.m. After a day’s work, I get home, prepare the dinner and help my daughter with her homework. I still have studying to do after she goes to bed. I consider myself to be a happy woman.”

    Delminda Áuria Ruface, 34 – workplace safety engineer – Mozambique

  • “My key-word is organization! I’m a single mother and I need to manage the activities of my three sons (who are 11, 12 and 13 years old). I need to help with schoolwork, prepare meals, do the cleaning, the shopping, take care of administrative tasks and plan the weekend’s activities, as well as managing all of this planning with the boys’ father. I teach my sons to contribute to the housework, which helps me a lot. And on top of all of this, I still manage to find time for myself and go to dance classes twice a week.”

    Nancy Vecerina – executive assistant - Switzerland

  • “I have to mention a great co-worker of mine here at Vale, Jucilene Nunes. She arrived at the company as an intern, and then was promoted to transport programmer in 2006. Not only did she land the job, she is also successful because she became the first female to take on this position in Vale, demonstrating the dedication and perfection of her work.”

    Euclides Freitas – operations trainee - Brazil


Take a look at the evolution of women’s participation in Vale