The Women's Forum (WF) opens today in Paris. The theme this year? "Bridging humanity for inclusive progress," with the ambition to bring people closer together and break down barriers to women's participation in all spheres of public and private life.

Sanofi fully supports these objectives and intends to continue the open dialogue begun during previous Women’s Forums held in May in Toronto and in September in Singapore.

In our societies, gender disparities remain a major obstacle to social progress and economic growth. These are essentially based on perceptual biases and stereotypes that are fading. Gaps in access to education between the sexes are gradually diminishing: women's literacy is similar to that of men. The same is true for school enrollment ratesand girls in developed countries outnumber young men at university. Yet, women are still a minority in the scientific and engineering sectors (they represent between 14% and 40% in developed countries2), remaining more represented in the humanities, languages and artistic sectors. In addition, fewer of those women graduating in science and technology pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or health3.

According to WHO, in households and communities around the world, women are the main caregivers. They make up 70% of the world's health workforce and social workers. Half of women's contribution to global health comes in the form of unpaid aid, worth $ 3 billion a year.

Yet, women are underrepresented in leadership and decision-making positions in the health professions.

At the Women's Forum in Paris, Sanofi is reaffirming its commitment to gender balance and diversity in the health sector.

At Sanofi, women represent 46% of the overall workforce, bringing us closer to parity. However, although we have many talented women, only 36% of them hold senior management positions. Sanofi has therefore made a commitment to achieve a balance between men and women at the top of the organization among its 1,900 leaders by 2025. Our approach is based on a culture of inclusion and diversity and an environment that guarantees equal opportunities for the benefit of all. Recognized as a means to generate growth, gender balance is a real force for attracting, developing and retaining talent and for driving innovation and imagining tomorrow’s solutions, all in the interests of our patients.

Throughout my career, I have personally witnessed this strong link between women's leadership and economic and managerial performance. Gender parity is a positive force for society, for the success of companies, and for the growth of the global economy. Today it is an imperative for all companies, and collectively we must move from words to action.

Olivier Brandicourt, Chief Executive officer

But our commitment does not stop there. Consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030, we are strengthening our commitment by supporting their presence in the areas of health and sciences. This involves education and entrepreneurship and close collaboration with others to improve women's access to care.

In this regard, we have partnered with various organizations to help develop the place of women in the areas of innovation and research and development. This includes support programs to encourage girls to pursue science degree courses as well as training to support women's ability to lead.

Sanofi has been engaged for eight years with the Women's Forum, a platform dedicated to promoting the voices and views of women on global issues. As part of our common work, we help to highlight talented women and inspire others to make a difference. As a member of the Women’s Forum Strategic Committee, Sanofi collaborates with partners, including Axa, BNP Paribas, Google and Gavi to bring forward technological solutions aimed at improving women's access to health. The goal is to move forward and generate more impact in order to make tangible changes in society.

Together, we can make a difference.