The DeBeers Group of Companies, Executive Vice President, Group Corporate Affairs, David Prager, has reaffirmed the diamond magnate’s commitment to the advancement of women and to bridge gender equality. Prager was speaking during the De Beers Women Summit on Thursday in Gaborone, convened by De Beers, which focuses on the advancement of women business leaders in Botswana and southern Africa. According to Prager, after extensive research conducted by the company to establish how it can add value and change the lives of women within their company and around the world, especially in countries where it operates, De Beers reached three conclusions; First of which is a pledge to achieve parity in the appointment rate of men and women in senior leadership positions by 2020. “We are on backing this and we will get there; it is not easy but we are optimistic about it,” he said. Secondly, the company intends to invest US$ 3 million in their countries of operation to fund micro entrepreneurs in southern Africa. Lastly, Prager revealed that De beers will this year alone spend US$ 140 million in consumer marketing to women in China, US and that the company has committed to work with UN Women to remove any gender stereotype in their marketing products – a trend which he hopes a lot of companies will copy.
According to Prager, two years after realising that diversity was critical business issue for their De Beers, they now know better and are acting on it. “Any business that thinks it can be resilient and have a strong decision making and good ideas but doing it with half the world’s talent is kidding themselves,” he said. Prager encouraged women to be themselves, and not to try to copy men, saying that it is the different perspective and view point that employers are now looking for. “It’s not about rigging the game but it’s about leveling the playing field. Parity can never be a disadvantage to anyone; so the idea that men will be disadvantaged because by 2020 we will have appointed 50 percent females to me doesn’t make sense, if you can’t compete in a world where its equal then we are probably not interested,” he said. Based in London, Prager has overall responsibility for the profile and positioning of De Beers and its businesses.