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Mining by Women: Check out the new article written by Vale’s People director

Article written by Marina Quental, Vale’s People director

Operate heavy equipment, plan extraction, conduct field inspections and lead teams. There is no such thing as an unsuitable job for a woman. In recent years, women have gained more space in mining, an industry that has historically been male-dominated at all levels. Little by little – and competently –, they have managed to overcome bias and have taken up administrative, operational and managerial positions, proving that a woman's place is wherever she wants to be, even in mining.

However, players in the industry still need to make their businesses more inclusive and appealing to women. Women currently represent only 13% of the total mining workforce in Brazil compared to 44% in other sectors. Improving this scenario is imperative for the mining industry, as different perspectives can enrich the debate and the decision-making process and give it a competitive edge amid the growing complexity of its business environment and the countless challenges that lie ahead.

In this sense, initiatives and discussions on gender diversity and equity issues have intensified and mobilized companies to review their culture and internal processes and come together to design effective solutions for increasing and strengthening women’s participation in the sector.

That is how “Women in Mining Brasil” came about in 2019. The movement, which is actively supported by Vale, proposes a new approach to the Brazilian mineral sector, aiming not only to attract women, retain them, recognize their value and enhance their talents, but also to have a more refined focus on women in the communities and value female entrepreneurship in the supply chain.

At Vale, we’ve have been invested in women’s inclusion and promotion through initiatives focused on gender equity and participation in related events and forums. In addition, we have joined the Brazilian government's Citizen Company program, in addition to extending maternity leave from 120 to 180 days and paternity leave from five to 20 days.

But we want and need to go further. Last year, we set the goal of doubling our female workforce by 2030, from 13% to 26%. We are taking an inclusive approach by working on several fronts to eliminate barriers that could hinder recruitment and retention of women while expanding gender diversity across the board. The numbers indicate that we are on the right path: the percentage of female employees at Vale worldwide rose from 13.5% in 2019 to 15.8% in October this year. In Brazil, we are 16.6% of the workforce, and in China the female participation jumped from 41.9% to 53.9% in the same period.

We recently hired almost five hundred women to work in our operational units across Brazil through the Vocational Training Program. Likewise, we are prioritizing recruitment of female talent in our two trainee programs, which are scheduled to start in May 2021. 61% of the trainees selected in the 2019 program are women, which are being prepared to take up leadership positions in the company in the future.

We believe that these initiatives focused on inclusion and diversity are helping us build an increasingly collaborative, productive and innovative environment – one more attractive to new talents.

To further reinforce that there is space for women in mining and that they work in all areas across Vale – from field operations to leadership –, we launched a web series called “Mining by Women”. Published on our website and social media channels, the web series consist of short videos showing how women are making a difference in our company. The project was designed and produced by women and, in addition to valuing our talents, it seeks to inspire even more professionals to build their career in the mining industry. After all, we are confident that mining by women and for women will add more value for the whole society.


Mining by Women: Check out the new article written by Vale’s People director