About Vale

1/11/2022

Mining By Women: Learn about the stories of women leaders at Vale

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Whether in mining or other industries, leadership positions are mostly occupied by men. Despite this disparity that has resulted from structural and historical problems, more and more women are conquering space at the top of their companies. Vale has been working to encourage this scenario.

In 2021, the number of women in senior leadership positions (executive manager and above) in the company increased by 80% compared to 2019. According to the company's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report , the numbers related to management and coordination positions, in addition to supervision roles, which also increased – 51.2% and 66.1%, respectively.

We have brought forward our target to double the number of women in our workforce compared to 2019 and to reach 26% of women in the workforce by five years to 2025. By November 2021, the percentage of women at Vale was 18.7%, up 5.2% from 13.5% in 2019 when the company established our target for employing women as part of our global diversity strategy. There are now 4,500 more women working in our company.

Female participation in leadership positions at Vale began a few decades ago, in 1990. Shirley Virginia Coutinho was the first woman to take on a leadership role, becoming superintendent director of the Fundação Vale do Rio Doce – the company's name at that time. See below for more details about the trajectory of this pioneer leader:

Picture from Vale Journal with the news “Shirley breaks taboo in Vale's history”
News about the day Shirley Coutinho took over as the first woman in a leadership position. Credit: Vale Journal
The picture shows four men and two women (Shirley is on the right) standing in a room. The other woman holds a document in her hands.
Photograph of Shirley taking office as a director. Credit: Vale Journal
The picture shows several people standing behind an opening ribbon about to be cut. In the foreground, Shirley cuts the ribbon next to another woman.
Photograph of Shirley officially opening residential units. Credit: Vale Journal
A picture of Shirley, sitting, looking to the side and gesturing with her hands.
Shirley Virgínia Coutinho, at that time, superintendent director of Fundação Vale. Credit: Vale Journal

Learn more about Vale's history at the History Centre

After Shirley, many other women took on important leadership positions within Vale. In the last episode of Season Two of Mining By Women some of them shared a little of their stories. Now, learn more about the trajectory of other 6 female leaders of Vale:


At the picture, Deshnne is smiling, with crossed arms, and she wears light social clothing.




Deshnee Naidoo, Executive Vice President, Base Metals – Canada
With vast experience at corporate and operational levels and in different locations, Deshnee has often faced sexism, racism and ageism during her career. Today, Deshnee leaves a word of advice for young women who dream of being in leadership positions:




It's almost the advice that you would give your 20-year-old self, right? I think the first thing would be: dream big, you know, don't let your thinking be constrained by the limitations of the past, of what women could do or worse, what they were allowed to do, so dream big! Secondly, mentally prepare yourself to take your career in any direction, learning and stretching your ability must become part of your DNA. That's something that I felt very strongly about. Don't wait for opportunities to come your way, also create a few of them.”
At the picture, Vera is smiling. She wears glasses and a blue shirt. Vera Silva, Trade Finance Manager – Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia  
At Vale since 2011, Vera has recently seen greater acceptance of ideas and proposals from women professionals than in the past. Despite the increased awareness and acceptance, she knows there is still a lot of work to be done in the area of ​​equity, diversity and inclusion. As a leader, Vera emphasizes the importance of being a positive inspiration:




As leaders, the way we deal with and train people is very important. We influence the people we work with often without realizing it. And it's very gratifying when I learn that these people manage to achieve their goals, feel themselves to be better professionals and even achieve better when they are recognized internally or externally.”
At the picture, Vera is smiling. She wears glasses and a blue shirt. Vera Silva, Trade Finance Manager – Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia  
 
At the picture, Ludmila is with her arms crossed and smiling. She wears a black clothing and the image background is a brick wall. Ludmila Nascimento, Executive Manager of the Energy area – Rio de Janeiro/Brazil  
At Vale since 2003, in a leadership position since 2010, Ludmila, at the beginning, had no perception that the gender difference could influence her professional trajectory in mining. However, with the evolution in leadership levels and the increase in challenges, it became evident that the obstacles to growth were greater for women, and it was essential to overcome these differences.


There are indeed barriers and discrimination in the female professional trajectory, often reflected in veiled comments and in some behaviors that we need to know how to identify. However, the most important thing is to know how to position ourselves appropriately. Another important point is “to keep your essence and be who you are”, advice that I once received from an executive director at Vale. Today I understand the duty and responsibility to promote diversity and inclusion in teams, helping to create psychologically safe, diverse and inclusive environments, as this is the only way to generate greater innovation and productivity.”
At the picture, Febriany is smiling. As a background there is a neutral wall. She wears a green dress with white polka dot print. Febriany, Chief Executive Officer of PT Vale Indonesia Tbk – Jakarta/Indonesia  
Having assumed leadership roles at Vale since 2007, Febriany recalls that she did not always feel confident; she hid her emotions for fear of appearing weak. After receiving advice, Febriany learned about the power of thoughts, perspectives, open and transparent dialogue, and the inclusive mindset:




I used to think that I had to act and behave ‘like a man’ to be accepted by my colleagues until I received a profound piece of advice from a male colleague. He said, ‘If Vale wanted a man in your role, surely Vale would find one. You bring different value to the organization by being who you are.’ I began to explore being myself, starting in small groups that I knew well, and gradually felt my confidence increase over time.”
At the picture, Febriany is smiling. As a background there is a neutral wall. She wears a green dress with white polka dot print. Febriany, Chief Executive Officer of PT Vale Indonesia Tbk – Jakarta/Indonesia  
 
At the picture, Vera is smiling. She wears a long sleeve shirt and gold earrings. Vânia Neves, Global Technological Architecture Executive Manager – Rio de Janeiro/Brazil  
Vânia Neves says that being in a leadership position in the technology area has always been challenging, because invariably, women are compared to men, whether for the way they act or for their knowledge. For her, as a black woman, this challenge becomes even bigger, because she is far from the standard stereotype of a technology leader. Working in leadership positions since she was young, she told how she learned to deal with this obstacle:


There are situations when men expect the woman to have the profile of another male reference. I try to deal with this kind of situation naturally: I position myself clearly and with my leadership style, aiming to aggregate value for the people and the company where I work. Throughout my career, I have learned that these issues are solved in the daily routine, working focused”.
At the picture, Flávia is smiling. She wears a white blouse and a black necklace. Flavia Constant, Social Investment and Culture Executive Manager - Rio de Janeiro/Brazil  
At Vale since 2019, Flavia recognizes that, although mining is a mostly male environment, her entry into the company coincided with the moment when Vale was setting itself the challenge of acting on the gender issue. For her, the sector focus should be to become more inclusive and attractive to people with diverse profiles, that is, with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion:




A diverse environment tends to be more interesting and therefore attractive to everyone, including women. Having achieved greater diversity, it is necessary, from a deep respect, to expand the dialogue and listening capacity, for a real understanding of the different needs for practical transformation. In the specific women case, it seems to me to be urgent to include men in the process as well, aiming to broaden their understanding of the limitations and sexism negative effects in society in general".
At the picture, Flávia is smiling. She wears a white blouse and a black necklace. Flavia Constant, Social Investment and Culture Executive Manager - Rio de Janeiro/Brazil  
 

During 2021, the web series Mining By Women shared inspiring stories from different women who help to build Vale. In this web series, 22 women told their stories through the episodes, 37 shared testimonials on the special page, another 26 participated in special news, 160 shared their pride of being part of mining in posts on social media, and countless others were impacted by the representative examples.

With the second season of this project – which was conceived and directed by women, for every man and woman – it became even clearer that women's place is also in mining.


Did you miss any episode?

If you missed an episode, be sure to check it out. Click here and watch it right now. In the second season, we shared the trajectory of women within the themes of pioneering, ethnicities, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+, young talent, and leadership.


Also read the special news about the episodes:

Mining pioneers: Mining By Women premieres Season Two

Mining By Women: Meet women from different ethnicities who have occupied their space in the industry and are helping Vale become a more plural company

Mining By Women: Check out the stories of women with disabilities who are transforming Vale

Mining By Women: Mining is also a space for women from the LGBTQIA+ community

Mining By Women: Vale is made by young female talent as well
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Mining By Women: Learn about the stories of women leaders at Vale