ArcelorMittal drives gender diversity discussions

With the motto “best talent = best organisation = best performance,” ArcelorMittal continues to promote diversity and inclusion at the world’s leading steel and mining company. Sapna Arora, corporate manager of ArcelorMittal University and member of the company’s gender diversity and inclusion council (GDIC), recently spoke at the Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg on the topic of “Equality pays off,” a European Commission (EC) initiative to achieve sustainable business success by gaining access to untapped female talent.

Sapna pointed out some simple examples that show where the need for equal treatment starts. During a focus group discussion, it was noticed that the available sizes of safety wear were more suited to men. The issue was highlighted to the health and safety team and a solution immediately found.

ArcelorMittal aspires to create an organisation that promotes progress and equality across its offices and production sites around the world. To realise these goals, the group formed the gender diversity and inclusion council, which consists of five male and five female senior executives. The council is sponsored by Davinder Chugh, Group Management Board and co-chaired by Nicola Davidson, vice president, corporate communications, corporate responsibility and Foundation and Henri Blaffart, executive vice president human resources.

ArcelorMittal has a number of different initiatives to eradicate gender discrimination, which also includes dealing with unconscious bias, within the group. Talent exchange programmes, special skills-based programmes for women, communication campaigns on women working at ArcelorMittal and company-wide celebrations of International Women’s Day are a few of the measures taken to sustain the momentum for improved diversity and inclusion at ArcelorMittal.

International Women’s Day for example was also held in the offices in Luxembourg-City this year. Female employees working for ArcelorMittal all over the country were invited. Paul Tetteroo, Chief Purchasing Officer at Long Carbon Europe, supported the cause and spoke of challenges women face in the hierarchy, he also indicated ways to provide equal opportunities to all “talents.”

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) recently reported that there are more than six million women in the European Union who say they cannot work full-time due to family responsibilities. To address this issue, ArcelorMittal has set up a kindergarten near its steel plant in Dabrowa Górnicza, Poland, providing parents  with the opportunity to work and advance in their field. Sapna explained that the concept of “Equality pays off” ultimately brings about cultural change and that ArcelorMittal is striving to be a company of choice both for men and women.

In November 2012, the company’s inaugural Women in Leadership (WIL) programme provided three days of training for 35 women from 15 different functions and 16 different nationalities.  The group attended the programme at the ArcelorMittal University in Luxembourg. CEO and Chairman Mr. Mittal showed his support by delivering the opening speech. The feedback was so positive, that there are two sessions planned for this year. The programme serves to catalyse women’s self-confidence, in preparation for future positions as business leaders. Beyond the programme's primary target group of managers and executives, ArcelorMittal has extended the offer also to talented women below management level, with the launch of a new programme called WEL (Women Emerging in Leadership).

Sapna Arora added that these efforts by ArcelorMittal are being implemented to create a balanced organisational culture, attract and retain innovative and talented employees and enhance ArcelorMittal’s image as an employer of choice:

”ArcelorMittal, as a steel company, is always likely to have a higher proportion of men to women, but nevertheless we believe that there are ways that we can make our brand more attractive to women and then make sure that we can offer these women interesting career developments”