Feature Stories

Celebrating the Women of Astellas on International Women’s Day

Mar 8, 2017

March 8 marks International Women’s Day (IWD), a celebration of respect and appreciation towards women for their economic, political and social achievements. The theme of this year’s IWD is “Be Bold for Change,” a call to help to forge a more gender-inclusive world for all women.

At Astellas, gender parity and workplace equality are not topics we take lightly. With diversity and inclusiveness at the core of our culture, we are active in ensuring that these tenets are ingrained in all aspects of our business. To do this effectively, we host several dynamic programs, like our recent Women in Action Conference, to both underscore the value we place on women’s contributions and reinforce our longstanding commitment to women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Collette Taylor, senior vice president, Human Resources and Facilities, noted that the Women in Action Conference marked a significant personal and professional milestone  

“While I can point to many examples of Astellas supporting me as an individual employee, the most meaningful and ‘game-changing’ experience has been the unwavering support and commitment for the Women in Action Conference. It was an incredibly rewarding experience, and the impact on the girls and young women who attended made me proud be an Astellas employee. We encouraged them to think bigger, to be louder, to be more confident and to reach for their goals. I truly feel that the conference changed tomorrow, and we could not have done it without the genuine support and commitment of Astellas.”

Our Stellar Women Employee Resource Group (ERG) also reflects our corporate culture of diversity and inclusion. Just last year, the ERG surpassed 700 members and centers its work on inspiring women, creating an environment of equality and advancing advocacy. Leading this group is Bill Fitzsimmons, executive vice president, Regulatory Affairs and Clinical and Research Quality Assurance, Astellas Pharma Global Development, Inc., who truly understands the critical role men play in advancing gender parity.

“Men have a major role in advancing gender parity. They need to be vocal and active advocates for the advancement of women by identifying unconscious biases; coaching, mentoring and sponsoring women; and supporting women and looking for opportunities to serve and socialize.”

Across the Americas, Astellas is committed to embracing diversity and empowering its female employees to balance their work and home commitments. In 2016, we were named a top workplace by Working Mother Magazine for the second consecutive year. Rowena Borenstein, general counsel, Astellas Pharma Canada, spoke about the impact our flex working hours have had on her colleagues’ ability to balance their professional and home lives.

“We have several women in our Canadian office with very young children and a long commute to work. On their behalf, I was very grateful for the recent introduction of the flextime arrangements, in particular the ability to negotiate a work from home day. I believe it has had a tremendous impact on work-life-balance for many of our working mothers, and is a great example of the progressive nature of the Astellas culture.”

“What I think truly sets Astellas apart is its diverse culture and commitment to inclusion; this approach allows leaders to recognize the value we bring to patients and the organization as a whole,” said Sandra Cifuentes, general manager, International Operations, Astellas Farma Colombia. “I am constantly inspired by the work of my colleagues and am grateful to work for an organization that empowers and advocates for its female employees.”