April 12, 2021

Diversity Milestone in the Casthouse

Pocos Women
Manuela Aparecida de Oliveira (left) and Naiara Alves do Prado

Our Poços de Caldas casthouse in Brazil achieved a diversity milestone in 2020 with the appointment of the first all-female duo to work in the hot top casting unit.

The hot top receives molten metal to produce aluminum billets. The extensive physical effort required to operate the equipment historically limited the number of female employees interested in performing the work.

In 2019, the unit made several adjustments to its equipment to improve ergonomics and attract male and female employees, improving gender diversity in connection with our strategy to create an inclusive and diverse work environment. Changes included reducing the weight of the oven-opening sledgehammer from 11 pounds to 8.8 pounds (5 kilograms to 4 kilograms) and the alloy hopper from 15.4 pounds to 11 pounds (7 kilograms to 5 kilograms).

With these changes, women started to work in the hot top but were paired with male coworkers. In 2020, Manuela Aparecida de Oliveira and Naiara Alves do Prado became the first all-female pair.

“It was challenging to take a position in an environment that until then was seen as totally masculine and where a woman would be unable to operate,” said Manuela. “But I proved the opposite, and I believe that I did not disappoint those who believed in my potential. We don’t need to be better than anyone. We just need to be better than ourselves with each passing day.”

Added Naiara, “Working in a company that values its employees and believes in its women, I always wanted an opportunity to show my potential. I learned that you should not create limits for yourself. You can get to where you want to be.”