Johnson & Johnson’s long legacy of women in leadership positions dates back more than 130 years. When J&J launched as a company in 1886, eight of the first 14 employees (more than half!) were women. By 1908 women were supervising eight of Johnson & Johnson’s 26 departments, including sterile surgical products manufacturing, the most rigorous area of the company.
Fast forward 130 years…
Early in 2016, Johnson & Johnson launched WiSTEM2D (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing & Design) to help increase representation in these fields at every step of girls’ and women’s lives. In order to focus on women and girls at all levels of development, WiSTEM2D is built around three foundational pillars: K-12, University Talent and Professionals. At the professional level, J&J aspires to attain 50 percent representation of females by job level, overall in all STEM2D areas, across the company and over time, through reimagined recruitment, development and retention of the world’s best female STEM talent. However, J&J understands that attracting and retaining the world’s best talent professionally begins with deepening the WiSTEM2D graduate pool.
“The fact is that diversification of the STEM graduate pool and workforce is not proceeding at a pace we’re satisfied with,” said Kathy Wengel, Worldwide Vice President, Johnson & Johnson Supply Chain. “Johnson & Johnson was founded on science and innovation and we’re committed to being a partner and advocate for women.”
J&J approaches its goal of increasing the number of undergraduate women enrolling in and declaring majors in the STEM2D fields by entering into partnerships around the world. The first 10 partnerships are with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) and nine leading academic centers: Caltech, Harvey Mudd College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Instituto Technologico de Aeronautica (ITA – Brazil), Rhode Island School of Design, Rutgers-New Brunswick Honors College, Spelman College, The University of Tokyo, and The University of Limerick.
It’s never too early to inspire a young mind
J&J’s approach also includes initiatives appealing to girls in grades K-12. At the AWESOME Symposium in May 2016, Meri Stevens, Vice President of Supply Chain Strategy and Deployment, said, “Today, kids don’t stay in STEM sciences. Girls tend to lose interest at age 10, 11, 12 – and never get the chance to reach the leadership level.”
In April 2016, J&J began partnerships with JA (Junior Achievement) and FHl360. These two partnerships are intended to help J&J achieve its goal of reaching one million girls between the ages of 5 and 18 by the year 2020.
(See AWESOME story about J&J and JA)
The initiatives have support from leaders across the J&J enterprise. Sandi Peterson, Group Worldwide Chairman, who was interviewed in an Up-Close Conversation at the 2015 AWESOME Symposium, has said, “More than 80% of a family’s healthcare decisions are made by women, including moms, sisters and their friends, and our goal with this program is to increase the participation of women that are practicing medicine and developing the technology and products that are used to keep people healthy. Ensuring such talent is cultivated to enter the workplace is critical to maintaining successful businesses and meeting the changing needs of an increasingly complex marketplace.”
Johnson & Johnson’s initiatives to support women in all stages of their lives
Although WiSTEM2D may be J&J’s newest campaign to advance women, it’s definitely not the first or the only.
Johnson & Johnson’s dedication to advancing women has been and continues to be an important initiative for the entire company. In June of 2016, Johnson & Johnson was one of the first 28 companies to sign the “White House Equal Pay Pledge.” By signing this pledge, J&J agrees to conduct an analysis of pay by gender across its entire workforce, review its own hiring and promotion practices to reduce bias, and include equal pay in overall efforts to promote equality within its own ranks, as well as look for any other practices that can ensure women are paid equally with men.
In an ongoing effort, through the Global Supplier Diversity and Inclusion program, Johnson & Johnson continues to be committed to fostering a rich pool of qualified diverse suppliers who can help tap into new ideas that are critically important for the company to better serve its communities and achieve its mission of helping people live longer, healthier and happier lives. Most recently, Johnson & Johnson, in partnership with WeConnect International, committed to an incremental $100 million of spend with woman-owned businesses over the next three years.
A longtime champion of women at work, J&J continues to expand opportunities for women with programs that support work/life integration and the fostering of female talent. Read more
(See AWESOME news about companies taking the pledge)
Working to improve women’s health and wellbeing around the world
Johnson & Johnson has developed and partnered with other organizations on initiatives in many parts of the world. One such initiative is MomConnect – a mobile health initiative to help more women gain access to vital information and care needed to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy and labor. This program was launched in 2014 by South Africa’s National Department of Health, with support from J&J, ELMA Philanthropies, and the United States government.
Read more about these initiatives
J&J’s AWESOME History
AWESOME first connected with Kathy Wengel when she served as a panelist at the inaugural Symposium in 2013. Her professional achievements and her passion around advancing women’s leadership led to her selection, along with Danaher’s Heather Sheehan, now Director of Member Engagement & Sponsorships for AWESOME, to receive the AWESOME Legendary Leadership (ALL) Award in 2014. In conjunction with that award, AWESOME presented Johnson & Johnson with the Company Leadership Award. Later that year, Kathy became an AWESOME Advisor.
In 2015, J&J was the first company to step up as Host Partner of the Symposium, and then in 2016 demonstrated continued support by becoming a sponsor at the AWESOME Leader level. Alex Gorsky, J&J’s Chairman of the Board and CEO personally welcomed Symposium participants in 2015 and in 2016, added, “On behalf of Johnson & Johnson, I congratulate AWESOME for taking on the challenge of bringing people together to truly make a difference in opportunities for women to advance and succeed as leaders in Supply Chain and beyond.”
As another example of how the company stands behind its commitment to women’s leadership, J&J has signed on to be a Fifth Anniversary Partner for AWESOME’s 2017 Symposium. Women’s supply chain leadership is making great strides and J&J is one of the reasons.