Inclusion, gender equality and integration should be three pillars of our society, essential foundations of a more prosperous and sustainable world. Although this has been discussed for a long time – in Italy, the first steps were taken in 1919 with Law no. 1176 – there is still a long way to go to achieve what is called for in Goal 5 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda, which focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment. If we focus on the labour market and, specifically, on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, women still lag behind their male colleagues.
According to the latest Eurostat data, in fact, in Europe 41% of people working in science are women, in Italy this percentage drops to 34%; however, looking at the last 10 years the percentage has slightly risen (in 2011 female scientists were around 39% and in Italy around 32%).
Throughout history there have been many women who, following their passion, have achieved important results in science, making fundamental contributions, but often their names have not been remembered. Many are the girls who could have become scientists but haven’t had the chance to break down the barriers imposed by the society, their families, and the law.
It’s out of this desire to recognise the fundamental role women play in this field, that in 2015 the United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which is celebrated on February 11th; a concrete opportunity to promote their full and equal access and participation in scientific fields.
In this not particularly positive international picture, however, Chiesi is clearly and consistently bucking the trend. The company’s figures speak for themselves: out of more than 6,000 employees, 54% are women, a percentage that rises even higher in the Research and Development sector, where out of more than 650 researchers, 66% are women.
And today, on the eve of this important day dedicated to women in science, Chiesi has received the Gender Equality Certification from Bureau Veritas (the world’s leading company in inspection, compliance assessment and certification services in the fields of quality, health and safety, Ed.).
The certification process involved both Chiesi Farmaceutici and Chiesi Italia, covering all six indicator areas (KPIs) envisaged by the guidelines in accordance with UNI/PdR 125:2022: culture and strategy, governance, HR processes, opportunities for growth and inclusion of women in the company, gender pay equality, parental protection, and work-life balance.
During the audit days, interviews were conducted on recruitment, career plans for employees, whistleblowing procedures, measures, and services to support parenting, and work-life harmony. A picture was gradually completed showing how Chiesi Italia and Chiesi Farmaceutici distinguished themselves both from a purely organisational, planning, and statistical standpoint, as well as from a “human and empathetic” point of view. With regard to the first aspect, recognition was paid to the detailed training and communication plan to disseminate the Gender Equality and Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) policy, as well as to the identification of attainable and specific objectives and a proactive awareness that accompanied the entire journey towards achieving the Group and International D&I targets in line with the UNI PDR 125 already initiated in 2020.
“The Gender Equality Certification is an achievement that is the result of Chiesi’s constant efforts in recent years to make the values of inclusion, gender equality and integration – shared values in which we have always believed – a reality. During the three-day audit involving both Chiesi Farmaceutici and Chiesi Italy, many aspects relating to our business processes were evaluated. I am proud to emphasise that the Group has distinguished itself by setting achievable and specific gender equality, diversity, and inclusion targets, completing a journey that began back in 2020. The detailed training and communication plan we outlined to disseminate gender equality and D&I policy was particularly appreciated. This certification has involved everyone, and I would like to genuinely thank the team, a well-prepared, motivated and inclusive team ready to take on the next challenges,” commented Giacomo Mazzariello, the Chiesi Group’s Chief Human Resources Officer.
The certification process also focused on statistical data, judged to be sound and accurate, and on aspects more purely related to human relations: selection processes, personnel development, performance management, salary review and well-being programmes structured to increasingly guarantee inclusion and equal opportunities. All key components for building a well-trained and motivated team.
“Inclusion, gender equality and integration have long been shared values for the Chiesi Group. These are not just fine words, therefore, but a concrete reality. Our workforce figures confirm this. With the certification issued to us by Bureau Veritas, we matched substance with form, a document sealing years of commitment and work. This does not mean that we will stop here, wallowing in complacency. We have come a long way, but there is still a lot of ground to cover in order to continue to ensure and, where possible, improve a working environment that can lead us to an even more prosperous future,” added Arianna Conca, Global D&I & Wellbeing Manager at the Chiesi Group.
Finally, the certification will not just be treated as a ‘feather in our cap’, a merely formal achievement, but will also translate into the specific forms of rewards provided for by the law, both of a fiscal nature and in terms of qualifying for access to calls for tenders and funds, both Italian and international.