Our Commitment to Woman in STEM at Janssen

In France, women represent only 29% of graduates from Engineering schools. As a Biotech Engineer, I am one of them, but when I started my career, I did not realize immediately that women were not as visible as men. Now I know that, if we don’t move the needle, gender parity in these schools will be reached by 2075 only… These figures will have a consequence on R&D, where France has one of the worst rates in Europe, according to Unesco, representing only 25.5% of R&D teams. Adding to these figures, and maybe more worrying: women represent more than 60% of students in Medical Schools, but they still struggle to make it to leadership positions in hospitals. This is what drove me to set up the Association “Donner des Elles à la Santé”.

As a company, we do a lot to promote woman in STEM, through campaigns, scholarships and mentoring. Internally, we pay a great attention to the way we recruit. Our Talent Acquisition teams operate in “male/female duos”. Systematically and for senior roles, they will come up to the hiring manager with candidates of both genders. Also, we are promoting the importance of a “work to learn” environment. Last year, I have launched an initiative named “Future of Work”, inviting my management to consider the way our employees should consider their development in a fast-changing world. For example, we are now extremely focused on Artificial Intelligence and Health. Not only my colleagues in charge of this topic must make sure they have hired the best experts, but they also must organize themselves so that they can learn and become experts of AI.

As for what we do outside of the company, we have now launched a partnership with University of Rouen, in Normandy, which is close to our main manufacturing Campus. We ran an analysis of the gender situation among students together with them. We issued a report that shows that, while women represent 58 % of the students, less than 10% of them get to a PhD level. There is a clear drop after 3 years. Therefore we decided to focus on female students entering “Master 1“ level in physics, maths, chemistry or IT, which are classes where we find less women. The aim of our joint project is to guide women and to ignite their future careers in STEM, by introducing them to some of our role-models, having them visit our Campus and promoting our gender balance programs. We are also considering, for this year, a system of scholarship to grant some of the most promising STEM students.

We are also doing a lot more to get woman into leadership roles at Janssen. Apart from training programs which are managed globally and open to all managers, we have a very active Employee Resource Group (ERG) called Women Leadership and Inclusion (WLI). As a sponsor of this group at the EMEA level, I strive to make sure that we have a clear roadmap in every country across the region and an action plan, articulated on the main pillars of the project. On the Advancement pillar, we offer programs and networking opportunities that enable female talent to achieve complete and fulfilling careers​; our flagship initiative is a very active mentoring program gathering 15 countries and 17 sites in 2020-21… The Community pillar provides connection and engagement opportunities for all employees during key milestone moments and throughout ​their careers; we are going to launch a Yammer campaign focusing on work life balance to engage our WLI community early 2021. Last but not least, our Inclusion pillar fosters an inclusive mindset that enables all employees –males and females – to understand the imperative for a ​gender-diverse workforce. Our objectives are to provide tools and resources to facilitate a culture that enables women to connect, to develop their skills and to achieve their full potential.
Women Leadership and Inclusion at Johnson & Johnson is not just a commitment—it’s the reality of how we must live and work.
The best innovations, the best performance will break through… only if women feel empowered to bring their own perspective to work each day. Women need to be better heard; I am also convinced that they need also to dare more. WLI contributes to create an inclusive work environment which makes it easier for women to raise their hand and be heard.
That is why this Employee Resource Group is so important to me, as it represents a very positive way to catalyse energies and foster women leadership.

Our figures speak for themselves:  in France 73% of our employees are women, 55% of managers are women and 65% of the members of my leadership team are women.
If we look at the top ten wages of the company, 5 are women and 5 are men.
As we want to look at the future, our Group has promoted  in 2017 an enhanced parental leave policy for employees worldwide. New parents—maternal, paternal and adoptive—can now take a minimum of eight additional weeks of paid leave during the first year of a child’s birth or adoption. A great manager can make the difference between moms feeling like they can be successful at work and at home, or feeling like they are a burden to their organizations. At Johnson & Johnson, we help new parents by familiarizing ourselves with the resources provided to parents and families. This extended paternity leave should eventually spread the risks and equalize the opportunities. As if the “maternity” risk were extended to a “parental” risk, borne by both spouses and de facto erasing this long gendered risk. It also allows men to become more involved in the domestic sphere and therefore to unbridle women’s careers, and it certainly also reduces bias in recruiting women of childbearing age.
Another big element on which we build and develop our workforce is the unconscious bias training program. All 130,000 J&J employees have been trained via e-learning on unconscious biases.
Janssen believes that in order to be able to truly understand and meet the needs of its diverse patients, consumers and customers, it needs a workforce that truly represents and appreciates the diversity of the world around us. One way the company is nurturing this idea is by helping STEM2D professionals return to work after an extended break through the Re-Ignite program, a paid “returnship” initiative that launched in 2017 for professionals in science, technology, engineering, math, manufacturing and design (STEM2D) who’ve been out of their field for at least two years and want to return to that line of work.
Individuals in the program receive skills training and support from mentors throughout Johnson & Johnson for 16 weeks or longer, depending on their location, and can then be considered for a full-time role at the company.

Another piece of our strategy in France is “Donner des Elles à la santé”. « Donner des ELLES à la santé » aims to mobilize stakeholders of the healthcare sector in order to collectively create a conducive environment to facilitate the career development of female physicians working in hospitals. According to a national barometer, only 6% of the physicians surveyed are aware of measures helping to promote professional equality between women and men in their institution or hospital. Yet doctors’ expectations are high. In particular, they favour actions that enable women to better integrate the constraints linked to maternity into professional life – 80% of women doctors consider the replacement of maternity leave to be essential – and those involving a more proactive policy in favour of gender equality – 65% of women doctors consider the introduction of a transparent career policy to be essential.  In order to move towards greater equality, the association is calling for actions all along the career path of women doctors: raising awareness of gender stereotypes from medical studies onwards, concrete solutions to replace maternity leave by launching pilots and drawing on experiences abroad. It also intends to get involved in transforming the way healthcare professionals, patients and society at large look at certain professions to de-sexualise them and get them out of the usual stereotypes (the care assistant and the surgeon).

The ultimate goal is to reach gender parity across the businesses and across the world. STEM programs are very important because in the light of the Covid 19 crisis, we have seen an unprecedented acceleration of the digital transformation of our organisations. Yet, women are not numerous enough in IT, in digital, in web architecture, in data centre management… if we don’t make this trend evolve, all our good figures, all our efforts will collapse. We need therefore to act in anticipation, create more bridges with Universities (what we do with Rouen), collaborate with our day-to-day customers to help them strengthen their leadership  in hospital governance (Donner des Elles à la Santé), change society views on parental leave (8 week of paternity leave for fathers)… We will continue our efforts in those directions and in parallel we are also working on Diversity in its different angles. Difference can be challenging. If you’ve got a homogenous group of people who all think alike, it’s easier to reach a very comfortable (and fast) consensus. Diversity means including people with different perspectives, different experiences, different opinions, and perhaps different working styles or expectations. It is the best way for a company like Janssen/ J&J to continue to foster innovation and drive performance.


About the author

Emmanuelle Quiles

Emmanuelle Quiles

Janssen, Europe, Middle East & Africa, President France

Emmanuelle Quilès holds a Degree of Biotechnological Engineer from Strasbourg University. Emmanuelle began her career as a clinical research associate first at Rhône-Poulenc, then at Pierre Fabre and then at Genetics Institute until Wyeth bought the company. 

Emmanuelle then held marketing positions in the Hemophilia field, she evolved into increasingly important roles in various fields (anti-infectives, oncology, neurology) until she was appointed head of Wyeth's largest franchise, the Rheumatology and Dermatology Business Unit. In November 2007, Emmanuelle was appointed CEO of Wyeth France and, after Pfizer's acquisition, she was confirmed as President of Pfizer France. In December 2012, she left Pfizer to set up Harmonium, a European start-up specialized in diabetology. She was appointed President of Janssen France on January 5th, 2015. Since 2019, she has been a member of the GIP Génopole's Industry Science Innovation Committee, the President of the “Artificial Intelligence and Heath” programme within the Strategic Committee for Health Industries and Technologies and a member of Business France Board. She is a Knight of the Legion of Honor.

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