Complete gender equality among employees is an aspiration for many companies, however, despite decades of progressive efforts, there is still a great deal of work to be done. At ADVANZ PHARMA, creating a gender equal working environment is a priority. We are committed to championing and empowering female employees and ensuring equal treatment and access to resources for all of our staff across our business, today and in the future. We believe employment should be based on a vast range of factors which help individuals and businesses to excel: skill, experience, and character, not a single factor fixed at birth.
The ADVANZ Women’s Network
We are proud that 32% of our management positions have a female lead in the role, and we are working hard to ensure this figure continues to rise. In an effort to address gender biases, we have created the ADVANZ Women’s Network or ‘AWN’, led by our Commercial Director, Maddie Donnelly. The vision of AWN is to embed a culture of equitable opportunities where every woman has access to a level playing field, enabling them to reach their full potential. AWN aims to provide a support network for women by offering resources to help them develop and grow their careers and have the confidence to achieve their aims. Activities of the group include sponsorship of events, from live webinars, TED talks, and discussion forums, through to membership of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, a network platform which is proactively involved in advancing women in the business of healthcare and helping organisations to realise the full potential of their female talent.
‘The Accidental Sexist’ talk by Gary Ford
Earlier this month, we invited Gary Ford, former Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase, and Author of ‘The Accidental Sexist’ to talk to us about his experience in helping organisations build a more gender equal environment. Gary spoke about how the negative experiences of his female colleagues had been ‘invisible’ to him and other male counterparts, sparking the catalyst for him to make a change. Research shows that there is currently an ‘intention gap’ when it comes to gender equality, meaning there is a contradiction between intention and implementation, which can leave intent as a mere predictor of actual behaviour change1. With this insight, he formed a male allies’ group to ensure men and others could better understand the experiences and problems female colleagues were facing, and work together to enact change. This is an example of how men who become proactive allies can help lay the foundation for a more flexible and diverse workplace of tomorrow, one which we hope to create ourselves.
The business case for gender equality
A diverse workplace means an equitable one. At a business level, companies excel when there is ethnic and gender diversity in decision making roles. A recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that $12 trillion could be added to global growth by advancing gender equality, through driving more creative thinking and greater innovation, resulting in better business decisions through diverse dialogue2.
At a company level, we work hard to ensure diversity across our offices and the entire organisation, however, we recognise that at a senior level we must do more. To undo cultural expectations around gender that have been embedded in us all for many generations, it will take significant time and investment, but we are making important strides. As a company we commit to investing time in exploring and understanding the situation and instilling awareness that gender equality benefits everyone; it helps us all to create a better workplace and a better society. Earlier this year, we were delighted that Dr Anju Agarwal was promoted as Director of Global Patient Safety, placing another skilled and passionate female leader at the helm of the business. In the last year (Jan 2020-Apr 2021), almost 15% of our employees were promoted with just over 50% of them being women, and we look forward to recruiting and promoting more women into senior roles in the months and years to come.
The COVID-19 gender gap
Looking to the future, we must also consider the effects the pandemic has had and will continue to have on gender equality. COVID-19 has exacerbated and made visible long-standing inequalities, with women and girls being disproportionately affected by the pandemic3. The switch to more working from home is expected to cause rising gender inequality in the workplace, whereby women are more likely than men to reduce their flexible working demands to align with the perceived expectations of their employer.3 In response, as we continue to work remotely, AWN will be running virtual personal development workshops for women, and this year, we have partnered with Full Circle the business training arm of Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation to run virtual initiatives for the personal development of female employees who want to improve their self-confidence, self-awareness and their personal impact. We also work closely with the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, a global non-profit organization committed to achieving gender parity in leadership positions through networking opportunities for members as well as have a mentoring programme where employees can buddy up with a business leader to help support their professional growth.
Our commitment for the future
This is just a start. As a company, ADVANZ PHARMA is dedicated to ensuring each and every employee is educated on gender inequality, and are fully aligned to the values of the organisation, which is to enable equality, diversity, and inclusion across the company globally, now and in the future, bringing in ever more practical initiatives to help our employees achieve their ambitions
1 The Centre for Women and Business at Bentley University: Men as Allies: Engaging men to advance women in the workplace. Available at: https://wit.abcd.harvard.edu/files/wit/files/cwb_men_as_allies_research_report_spring_2017.pdf Last accessed: June 2021
2 Mckinsey Global Institute. How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth. Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/employment-and-growth/how-advancing-womens-equality-can-add-12-trillion-to-global-growth Last accessed: June 2021
3 The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). How many days should we work from home? What works to improve gender equality: https://www.bi.team/publications/work-from-home-report/ Last accessed: June 2021