Roxana Ciltea, Sanofi: We aim to achieve gender balance across all levels of leadership by no later than 2025
Violence against women is prevalent in Romania, but also preventable. Education is, of course, one of the main pillars of stopping violence against women, and businesses can help with that, but one other important point is that people must be aware that violence can take many shapes and forms and it’s not just physical. Sanofi Romania & Moldova is committed to, as a business, helping stop violence against women, through its ALL IN Diversity & Inclusion strategy, says Roxana Ciltea, Head of HR, Sanofi Romania & Moldova, in an exclusive interview for the Romanian Diversity Chamber of Commerce. The interview is part of the Business Helps Stop Violence Against Women Campaign – and you can watch our webinar – with Roxana Ciltea as a keynote speaker, here.
What can businesses do to help stop violence against women?
Roxana Ciltea: All forms of violence are unacceptable, whether it occurs in or beyond the workplace, whether it is about physical or emotional abuse. Violence against women is a serious, prevalent, and preventable issue.
First, companies should take all necessary measures to create a safe and inclusive workplace, with a strong commitment to gender equality and diversity. Second, all companies should be role models to the external environment, bringing good practices and contributing to public debates that address such topics. This way, all the stakeholders involved – from the business environment to local authorities and NGOs, could work together to identify and implement short and long-term solutions for preventing and stopping violence against women.
How should they take action?
Roxana Ciltea: Business can and should be part of the solutions – including taking steps to prevent violence, to protect individuals, and to develop internal policies that support employees to bring their best selves to work, to be confident and open to address and report any type of violence that may occur inside an organisation, and even beyond. And also to develop and promote educational means to openly address into civil society any type of violence.
What are some of the best practices in this space from around the world and how can we implement them in Romania?
Roxana Ciltea: UN Women has played a key role in developing evidence-based policy and programming guidance on the prevention of violence against girls and women. They focus on early education, respectful relationships, and working with men and boys.
What are the main obstacles and how can we tackle them?
Roxana Ciltea: We are not always fully aware that there are many forms of violence – not only physical but also: emotional, sexual, verbal, economic, psychological abuse, stalking, unwanted attention. Besides the violent event itself, I would add the lack of integrated regulatory context against such violence and the limited protection offered to the victims.
According to CDC – the Center for Disease Control and Prevention – the solutions should include strategies that include teaching safe and healthy relationship skills; engaging influential adults and peers; disrupting the developmental pathways toward violence; creating protective environments; strengthening economic supports for women &families, and supporting survivors to increase safety and lessen harms.
Commitment, cooperation, and leadership from numerous sectors, including public health, education, justice, health care, social services, business and labor, and government can bring about the successful implementation of this package of solutions.
If companies were to do only *one* thing to move the needle for women, what should that be?
Roxana Ciltea: Foster a safe and equal workplace with equal power, resources and opportunities for all employees, that can strengthen their self-trust, autonomy, independence and courage to speak up whenever a violent act happens. And last but not least: Education!
What are some of the thing’s Sanofi has done to support its female employees and equality in the workplace?
Roxana Ciltea: We are committed to empowering women to increase their confidence in their own strengths and be fully independent, to develop a sustainable career path while reaching their full potential.
We implement various programs dedicated to our women colleagues: mentoring programs aimed to help them access leadership positions, career development programs, flexible work schedule which allows them to take care of themselves and of other family members in need, one to one discussion with their managers – focused not only on performance but also on employee wellbeing.
Part of our ALL IN Diversity & Inclusion strategy, with one of the pillars Building representative leadership, we aim to achieve gender balance across all levels of leadership no later than by 2025, having at least 50% women in Sanofi’s Senior leaders and at least 40% women in the Executives positions, and to be recognized externally as a Top 10 employer for different strands of Diversity.
Another example is the Support U program, which includes specialized psychological support services for our employees and their families, available 24/24 with the aim of managing everyday challenges more effectively, putting personal health and well-being as a top priority.
Not least, I would mention the Challenge your bias program – which is available to employees and who wants to make them aware of any prejudice they may have and how to fight it to create an inclusive environment together.
When speaking about equality in the field of business, what are the pillars that Sanofi puts at the centre of its strategy in Romania and internationally?
Roxana Ciltea: Our Diversity & Inclusion strategy – ALL IN – is based on three key pillars:
- Building representative leadership (which is our workforce)
- Creating a work environment where we can all bring our best selves (our workplace)
- Engaging with our diverse communities (our marketplace)
We focus on impact: impact on our workforce, our workplace, and our marketplace, so that we leverage the power of collective difference. The best way to deliver impact is by doing it together as an organization, with our people, our suppliers, our stakeholders, and society. Together we will deepen our understanding by having constant conversations that drive greater equity for the six key strands of diversity (Gender, Race & Ethnicity, Faith, LGBTQIA+, Age and Disability). This strategy is about doubling down on our efforts, leaning into our challenge, and truly going “all in”.