“Women make up 50% of the world, so having women’s voices and women’s ideas is really important to ensure that we have solutions that fit all of society and not just one part of it.”
Moira Gilchrist, Chief Communications Officer at PMI
Women have made significant differences in the sciences throughout history despite societal norms and expectations often discouraging them from pursuing scientific careers. Florence R. Sabin or Rosalind Franklin spring to mind. Yet, even today, women are still underrepresented in STEM fields: while they constitute almost half (49.3%) of the total employment in non-STEM occupations, women only make up 29.2% of all STEM workers. This varies across the STEM fields though; women are more likely to be represented in health-related jobs, such as life sciences (49%), than in engineering where they represent only 15% of the workforce.
There is also a gender gap in rapidly growing STEM fields which hold importance in the future such as artificial intelligence (AI). Indeed, the share of women working in the field of AI is only 22% worldwide.
Furthermore, the presence of women in leadership roles across all sectors is notably insufficient, with this disparity being particularly pronounced in STEM industries: the proportion of women in managerial positions is 25.5%, with this share dropping significantly in elevated leadership positions such as vice president (17.8%) and C-suite roles (12.4%).
We, at PMI, are also aware of these disparities and have implemented a formal process within our business strategy that identifies, assesses, and prioritizes social and governance topics. Below, we take a look at this process and some of the initiatives in place to ensure greater gender equality throughout the entire organization.
For all people to be able to develop and participate at PMI in the best possible way, an appreciative and prejudice-free environment is essential—regardless of gender, nationality, religion, ethnic origin, age, ideology, disability, sexual orientation, and identity. Inclusion, equality, a culture of open dialogue, and equal opportunities promote diversity among employees.
As such, one of the initiatives in place to address gender equality and equity at PMI is the Women’s Inspiration Network (WIN) which was established to support, inspire, and empower the women of PMI to succeed and reach their full potential. WIN offers chances to network, improve skills, be inspired, and share insights, tips and suggestions with other women and their allies. A subgroup of WIN has been created to target the specific needs of women in science at PMI. Aptly named ‘Women in STEM at PMI’, this group, representing over a hundred employees, aims to foster a sense of belonging among women scientists by celebrating their contributions in PMI’s global STEM departments through in-house podcasts, networking events with leaders, and presentations by guest speakers, just to list a few examples.
In addition to these initiatives, PMI has also launched a study in 2021 to better measure inequalities within the workplace. Conducted independently by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) and sponsored by PMI, this rigorous academic study explores the methods organizations can adopt to drive lasting cultural change.
Our efforts in this space have not gone unnoticed. In 2019, PMI became the first multinational company to achieve global EQUAL-SALARY certification from the EQUAL-SALARY Foundation. Three years later, we have recertified - demonstrating that we still hold ourselves to this standard and will continue to do so. In 2023, we have also received the Global Top Employer certification by the Top Employers Institute for the seventh year running, allowing us to attract an even greater proportion of women within our science divisions. Again in 2023, we have been included for the third consecutive year in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for transparency in gender reporting and advancing women’s equity.
These recognitions are encouraging and as we move forward, PMI will continue to celebrate and support women in science, recognizing their integral role in shaping our understanding of the world. Crucially, we will continue to embrace the necessary changes to enhance opportunities of women in science, thereby contributing to a more equitable world.