"Bringing more women and more diversity into our leadership makes us stronger."

Teva is on a mission to create a more inclusive workplace for women to start or advance their career. Mark Sabag, Executive Vice President, International Markets Commercial, discusses why and how Teva is strengthening its commitment to women.

We know that bringing more women and more diversity into our leadership makes us stronger. Research shows this, but we don't need to look at the research, because our history has shown this. Teva's evolution over the past 120 years was strengthened whenever it was more inclusive and brought more diversity into the business. Diversity and Inclusion is integral to our renewed ESG strategy at Teva.  And when I speak of diversity, it is at its broadest sense--regional, markets, minorities in all senses, race, gender, age—I could go on and on.  If you have diverse and adequate representation, it brings varied opinions, creativity, and leadership styles. When you inject this representation into leadership, into decision-making, it makes the business more innovative, it enhances performance and it is more representative of the communities that it serves.

What makes us One Teva is the unique fabric of our company.  When we say "One Teva" we don't mean that everyone must conform to rigid way of thinking or operating. It is the combined culture of diverse teams, organizations, regions, and people. And because it belongs to all of us, it means there should also be equal access to career opportunities and equal access to growth and development opportunities. Our commitment to inclusion and diversity is strongly embedded into who we are, who we want to be, and it's strongly embedded into our values.

Overall women represent 45% of Teva's workforce, yet when we look at our managerial levels, we start to see a decrease in representation. Like many other companies, we are struggling with what they call the leaky pipeline for women in leadership. Our focus, therefore, is to gradually close this gap and we have developed a holistic approach to address it.

First, we need to listen to women and to identify the gaps and barriers that we need to address.  We want to understand more about the challenges and motivations of women and how that aligns with the opportunities and access to opportunities that exist. For women, who feel they need more development opportunities we are offering mentoring and coaching.

Second, we want to deepen our culture of inclusion. When we are talking about inclusion - we are talking about belonging. Everyone has had that feeling in some way, shape, or form. Think of a time you felt left out—it leaves a mark on you.  Unconscious biases, those underlying attitudes and stereotypes that people unconsciously attribute to others, can permeate our thinking and our people processes. It's important to examine these to remove any systemic bias that may exist.  We tackle this by building safe places to have tough conversations around discrimination. We are increasing our organizational efforts in learning and development, creating more engagement on these topics and fostering productive dialogue to increase awareness, change mindsets and develop skills for more inclusive behaviors and actions.

As a company, we need to represent the society we live in and the patients we serve. Our reasons for building a more diverse and gender equal business go beyond leveling out the numbers—what kind of environment do we want to create for the future? Why are we creating a more gender equal business? For me personally, I think about my daughters who are starting out in their careers and the world I want them to enter. I think about my female mentors and how their unique leadership affected my career and how I lead today.  And I think about the communities we need to reach that are held up by women. We want Teva to have a strong commitment to women because we want to be an example and we know women bring tremendous value.

Women got the right to vote in the over hundred years ago in the UK and the US, and other industrialized countries then followed. And here we still are today, fighting for equal rights.  We need to accelerate this in any way we can. If you zoom out, you see that this is not just about our business. A foundation of diversity at our company strengthens our communities and society, and we have a shared responsibility to provide equal opportunity and foster an inclusive spirit.

Success in our gender equality efforts will be measured beyond the numbers.  This is a multi-year journey. We will be successful when all employees experience an inclusive culture, and feel that they can bring their own authentic selves to work.  We will be successful when women, along with other groups, at Teva feel valued and that they can grow in their career here. 

Share this article: