The theme for IWD2020 is #EachforEqual. Have you experienced gender stereotypes/gender bias in a professional context? If so, how have you been able to challenge this?
I have experienced hiring managers whose preference was males over females in the candidate pool due to the potential motherhood status for females and a concern over maternity leave or not being able to work beyond official hours due to child care. The solution to this gender bias is to remind hiring managers to hire the best fit where both genders have equal opportunities.
What does equality in the workplace look like for you?
Equality in the workplace means everyone having equal access to opportunities, all benefits are equitable and ensuring there is inclusion and diversity in workforce.
Sanofi just launched an ‘Accelerating Gender Equality - #EachForEqual’ communication where our one wish this year is No Need for International Women’s Day in the future! An equal future where we don’t need to mark International Women’s Day anymore.
If you mentor professionals at the early stages of their careers, do they/have they encountered different equality issues than you experienced at the same stage in your career? What changes have you seen?
Professionals today at the early stages of their careers are more aware and vocal about equality in the workplace. They also expect a fair work environment, where they are given equal opportunities to contribute to and feel like they belong in the workplace.
How do you think parental leave should be approached in 2020?
For both male and females to have the same paternity and maternity leave benefits. As part of our Inclusion and Diversity initiatives, Sanofi Asia has introduced Adoption Leave across all countries as we believe that adoptive parents also require time to bond with their children just as much as any other parents.
Do you feel social media has influenced a positive shift change for female leadership?
If yes, has there been any particular stories that have resonated with you?
I have always been inspired by Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo whose mother would ask her and her sister to write a speech about what they would do if they were president, chief minister or prime minister as well as to give a speech and also to decide who they were going to vote for as a formative experience in teaching the girls to dream big, giving them the confidence to become whoever they wanted despite their conservative Tamil backgrounds. This has certainly helped build and instil the confidence in her, as she was consistently ranked one of the world’s most powerful women. Her experiences resonate powerfully with me.
What have you or your business implemented to achieve positive changes for an equal workforce?
In Sanofi, all benefits are applicable to all levels of employees with no differentiation of job levels.
In 2019 as part of creating a more Inclusive Work Environment (IWE), Sanofi Asia has introduced Flex At Work and Flex From Work initiatives across Asia.
Flex At Work – Flexible Work Hours, Work From Home and Commodious Work Attire which applies to all levels of employees.
Flex From Work – Introduced Adoption Leave to enable adoptive parents to also be able to bond with their children as much as any other parents and Personal Care Leave to all employees which has a list of flexible leave as an added privilege provided to ensure all needs can be met. Employees can utilise this leave for child care, elderly care, disabled dependent care, spousal/partner sickness care, pet care and sick leave without MC. This is introduced to all employees inclusive of all job levels, genders and LGBTQ for the spouse/partner sickness care.
Sanofi also implemented ‘Challenge Your Bias’ Workshops globally to educate on unconscious bias and inclusive leadership.
Is there a business that you admire for their positive approach to an equal workforce? If so, who and why?
Novartis for setting the trend for an equal workforce by introducing and rolling out a global equal parental leave policy for all Novartis parents regardless of gender from 2019.
Please note that all commentary and opinions provided are those of the individual, and not the organisation/company they are employed by.