Takeda Demonstrates Commitment to Gender Parity on International Women’s Day
On International Women’s Day (IWD), recognized annually on March 8, we celebrated the social, economic and cultural achievements of women. In the past century, we have seen important change move us toward more gender-balanced environments, but more needs to be done to advance equality and inclusion.
According to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2020, we will not reach gender parity for over 99 years at the current rate of progress. The regressive effects of COVID-19 on women has set back progress towards gender equality even further. Although this data is disheartening, we should also see this as an opportunity to accelerate change.
This year’s IWD theme was #ChooseToChallenge, which aligns closely with Takeda’s values and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) philosophy. It reinforces our speak up culture, sharpens our focus to proactively eliminate bias and invites more dialogue about our employees’ experiences and stories.
Led by our Global Gender Parity Network Takeda Resource Group (TRG), one of our ten voluntary, employee-led groups consisting of individuals with shared characteristics and life experiences, allies and advocates supporting the group’s core values, the team held a two-day IWD event for employees. The event featured executive team members, DE&I leadership and keynote speakers from a range of industries including health care, technology and sports in more than 20 global and local sessions. These conversations covered how to speak up for women’s equality, men as allies in accelerating gender parity and the impact of COVID-19 on women in the workplace. Read on for themes and highlights from our IWD events.
In our opening keynote session, we heard from Dr. Rana El Kaliouby, an entrepreneur, mom, scientist, CEO of Affectiva and author of Girl Decoded. Dr. Kaliouby shared that speaking up means stepping outside of comfort zones to challenge ourselves to manage self-doubt and build confidence to pursue that next big thing, even if you may not check all of the boxes.
We are committed to creating a gender-balanced and inclusive workplace, and to see change, we have to start with our people. It may seem simple, but having honest conversations and actively listening are important first steps. This helps create an inclusive environment where employees of all backgrounds feel they can speak up and bring their whole selves to work. By establishing trust within our organization and across our industry, we can have more productive discussions that challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions and celebrate women’s achievements.
We believe both small and big steps are needed to help us progress toward a more diverse, inclusive and equitable world. We apply this lens as we look across our work and all the people we serve: our patients, communities, partners and employees.
When we think about our work environment, we define diversity as the makeup of our population. Equity is about our policies and processes. Inclusion is about embracing the diversity and different ways of thinking. For the sustainable development of any company, gender equality is an imperative. Having diversity of voices around the table leads to more creativity and innovation, better performance and more engaged teams.
In a session on how to bring DE&I to life, Takeda employees and leaders talked about taking concrete action to drive change and create more diverse representation. This involves asking the right questions to challenge the status quo, holding one another accountable and building an environment with clear, decisive direction starting with leadership and incorporating the commitment and engagement of individuals.
The need for change and action in the workplace is also urgent because of the impact COVID-19 has had on women globally. According to the 2020 Women in the Workplace study by McKinsey and LeanIn.Org, one in four women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce due to the pandemic.
This data shows how critical it is to support women, working parents and caregivers even beyond COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the desire from employees, and particularly working parents, to feel they have the flexibility to support a more balanced work life. With extended benefits during COVID-19, Takeda has made an effort to ensure our employees are able to access childcare and work with their teams to operate on a more flexible schedule. With extended benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, Takeda has made an effort to ensure our employees are able to access childcare and work with their teams to operate on a more flexible schedule.
IWD is not a standalone event. It should serve as a platform to promote the everyday action and commitment needed to create a more gender-balanced world. We believe that Takeda’s long-term success depends on fostering an inclusive environment where all employees are welcomed, empowered and inspired to use their unique voices and talents. As we think about our own #ChooseToChallenge commitments, we all have a choice to make in how we take actionable steps every day. Each of us can choose to learn, seek out and recognize women’s achievements, call out gender inequity and challenge the status quo.