Feature Stories

Moving the Needle on Women’s Empowerment

Jul 18, 2016

Astellas has launched several recent initiatives that both underscore the value we place on women’s contributions and reinforce our longstanding commitment to women’s empowerment and gender equality. At Astellas, we understand that despite the progress corporate America has made toward workplace equality, there is always more that can be done. And if we are to become a society in which women have the resources and knowledge they need to become the business leaders of tomorrow, we have to keep moving the needle. We have to challenge the status quo repeatedly to ensure that all of us—men and women—have a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation.

At our recent Women in Action conference, Astellas gathered 1,600 stellar female employees together with more than 250 young women to offer them learning opportunities to grow and excel in leadership roles. Similarly, Astellas USA Foundation-sponsored Stellar Girls program helps us connect with the communities in which we work and live by inspiring young girls to explore exciting careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). We have also reached new heights with our Stellar Women Employee Resource Group (ERG), which just recently surpassed the 500 member mark. The ERG’s vision is to influence and transform the impact of women at Astellas by creating an environment of empowerment and advocacy. This program, along with the six other ERGs at Astellas, reflects our corporate commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout the organization. Acting as the executive sponsor of this group has made it clear to me how important gender equality is for women and men everywhere, particularly in the workplace. It’s reminded me how much we as a society still have to accomplish, and it’s challenged me to identify additional opportunities to facilitate the advancement of women through future educational initiatives.

Moving the needle isn’t just an issue for women, either. It takes male allies from across the company to really make an impact, and Astellas’ Partners Leading Change Program—a program developed by the Institute for Women’s Leadership and the Institute for Gender Partnership—recognized this. As part of the program, Astellas brought 20 men from various levels and areas of the business in the U.S. together for two days to strategize about how men can become more vocal and stronger allies for change. We know that it’s everyone’s responsibility to encourage and develop female talent, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that we consistently look to further empower our female employees.

It will take a lot of different things to move the needle. But we’re up to the challenge. I am confident that the women and men of Astellas will amplify the intelligence and capabilities of those around them. And I know they will inspire us to stretch and to exceed our expectations as we become a stronger, more collaborative and more competitive company.