The company's Building Opportunities for Women in a Hard Hat Company initiative wowed the judges as it showcased how the aluminium giant 'broke down barriers in a male-dominated industry and achieved greater gender representation through an aggressive diversity agenda'.

Alcoa chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said the company was more competitive because it makes inclusion through diversity a priority.

"We built meaningful goals into our operations, compensation, and human resource systems to drive progress," Kleinfeld said, adding that the Catalyst Award has validated the company's efforts and provides the motivation for Alcoa to build 'an inclusive work environment'.