Fifty years ago this month, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, the modern movement for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality was launched in an act of defiance by a group of people who had long been marginalized because of who they are or who they love. During this month of LGBT Pride parades, celebrations and commemorations, our teams around the world walked and talked to show their commitment to diversity and justice. At Sanofi we are committed to a culture where everyone feels included and valued and can bring their whole and best selves to work. Inclusion and diversity is critical in our business. It gives us a deeper and richer understanding of the patients we serve around the world. The fact that we are still talking about it, however, means there is still work to be done.
A recent OECD study revealed that 1 in 3 LGBT respondents felt discriminated against in the workplace because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This not only affects their mental health and wellbeing, but also their performance. Being consciously inclusive is not just a responsibility in terms of human rights but it has an impact on the overall environment, culture and ultimately performance of a company.
It can be very stressful, emotionally and intellectually if you feel you can’t be yourself at work. An environment that is open provides for more exchange and collaboration, trust and overall a more positive environment for all employees. Across our company, we have some really good initiatives and have made progress, but we still have a lot of work to do to really embrace the changes needed. We just signed the UN Standards of conduct for the LGBT and are using this as a basis to address gaps. At the end of the day, our company should reflect the society we are serving.
Alan Main, Executive Vice President, Consumer Healthcare
Pride Sweeps Through Sanofi
Boston Pride Parade, United States
Around 30 people from Sanofi took part on June 8 in Boston Pride Parade. One of those taking part was Suncére Hernandez, Area Business Manager, Multiple Sclerosis, who shares her own story. “At an early age, one of my children shared with me they that they identify as being a part of the LGBT community. For some parents, this may have been a challenge but for me it has never felt like one. One of my children was there with us at the parade and I couldn’t have been more proud of our family, of our company, and all those who helped in making this dream a reality.”
Sanofi in the US hosted The Cool in You event to hear stories from the GenderCool Project, a storytelling campaign that highlights transgender youth. One of our colleagues was particularly delighted: “I am the parent of two gender-nonconforming children, and Sanofi’s decision to invite GenderCool to the Pride program in Bridgewater makes me proud to work here. It shows that the company’s commitment to diversity is rooted in our values.”
Latin America Celebrates Pride
“As the head of Ethics and Business Integrity, it is essential for me to ensure support for Diversity and Inclusion at Sanofi. I am a member of the LGBT community myself, and I have always felt comfortable and supported when attending Country Council social events with my husband. All my colleagues at the affiliate respect the fact that I’m gay, and that is because they live the company’s values every day, and the world is becoming open to these topics, even though it is complicated in some very traditional countries, such as Mexico. My colleagues take it very naturally, and that’s the way it should always be!”
Jorge Garduno, Head of Ethics and Business Integrity, Mexico
“We are here to serve our patients and consumers, Empowering Life for every one of the uniquely beautiful people on this planet, without thought for their gender, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, or other differences. Our ability to deeply understand and support their healthcare needs, is only as strong as our own representation and celebration of Diversity, building a truly Inclusive culture where everyone can feel PRIDE in bringing their full and best self to work.”
Paul Martingell, Head of Consumer Healthcare, Latin America
"In Latin America, we believe talent comes in all sizes, shapes, nationalities, religions, ages, sexual orientation... so should development opportunities! Therefore, we have been working to establish a truly inclusive working environment, where everyone can be themselves at work and really feel like they belong. The more diverse our team, the better we will be able to understand our patients and customers, and the better we´ll be able to support their life journey in our mission to Empower Life!”
Andre Soresini, GM Sanofi Pasteur, Leader of Diversity & Inclusion, Latin America
France Promotes Awareness
"It is very important to engage in an inclusive HR policy. At Sanofi we train our recruiters to hire without bias and we want to be inclusive of LGBT people"
Bruno Laforge, Senior Vice-President Human Resources for Europe
What is Sanofi doing to promote LGBT inclusion?
At Sanofi, embracing diversity and fostering an inclusive atmosphere are the backbone of our culture; it is an inherent part of our core values.
Partnering with the UN
In February 2019 we signed a partnership with the United Nations LGBT Standards of Conduct for Business Tackling Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, & Intersex People that defines fives standards of conduct that we will adopt.
Top Ranking for LGBT
In 2019, we were also awarded a 100% rating for the Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality by civil rights organization, Human Rights Campaign. To win such an award we showed that we provided support in four areas: workforce protection; inclusive benefits; an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility; and responsible citizenship. This includes flexibility at work, where we make sure that our flexible working policies include everyone: “For family leave, Sanofi will use the most inclusive definition of family and family member.”
Sanofi’s treatment of LGBT individuals and families was absolutely a consideration for me in accepting a job here. It is important to me that I work for a company that not only accepts me as I am, but that affirms and sees value in my lived experience as a gay man. That is manifest in quantifiable ways such as healthcare and other benefits coverage for same-sex partners, and trans-inclusive medical care; and in corporate culture and practice, which we see in the form of anti-discrimination and inclusion policies, the visibility of out LGBT and allied employees and leaders, and in employee resource groups such as PrideConnect. These things tell me that I matter and that I’m seen for who I am and valued as much as anyone else.
Chris Williams, Head of Executive Communications and Corporate Content
Potted History of Pride at 50
The LGBT community took a stand in 1969 after the Stonewall Riots in New York where police raided one of the city’s most popular gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn. One month later 500 people gathered for the first “Gay Power” demonstration. In June 1999, the then US President Bill Clinton officially declared June "Gay and Lesbian Pride Month", before Barack Obama extended its title to "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month" 10 years later. The Pride movement has made huge strides in the West, but we are still living in an international community where more than 70 UN member states still criminalize same-sex relations. In 26 of these countries, the penalty varies from 10 years in prison to life.