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Statement at APEC Women and the Economy Forum 2016

Innovation Center July 18th, 2016

Seema Kumar, Vice President Innovation, Global Public Health and Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson

Thank you Ambassador Russell.

I am pleased to be part of this year’s delegation, on behalf of the United States and Johnson & Johnson. It is an honor to address you all as a representative of the private sector and to take part in the dialog on shaping a strong economic future that is inclusive of women.  Johnson & Johnson is a healthcare company focused on accessing the best innovation from all over the world to solve some of the toughest challenges in healthcare--cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease among others—and improve the lives of people every day. And that means, we, like many others in the private sector, depend on tapping the best ideas from all over the world, regardless of gender or ethnicity.  The world is our laboratory, and the innovation that drives our growth is more powerful when we maximize the global power of diversity and inclusion to bring best science, technology and ideas to deliver healthcare solutions. That is what drives superior business results and creates sustainable competitive advantage. So diversity is not just the right thing to do, it is a must do -- a business imperative. 

At J&J, we have made diversity and inclusion a critical part of our enterprise growth strategy, and we know there are examples of best practices in programs and policies across the APEC economies that work to ensure women can be attracted and retained, and have equal opportunity to contribute – especially in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). Generous family leave benefits, including maternity and paternity leave, on-site childcare, flexible work environment, support for STEM education initiatives, and creating a culture where women are empowered to speak up, and mentor one another all go a long way. 

But we also believe there is power in partnership with the public sector. Together, we can create policy, education and programming to support the needs of women and help the private sector meet critical gaps in our workforce.  The private sector is eager to collaborate with the public sector, NGOs and others to set Global multilateral agenda including ambitious STEM goals and to make them part of the SDGs. Solving today’s economic, health, and other challenges can be complex - and sometimes daunting… but the more we work together to build bridges and the more we do to empower women into the workforce, the greater success we will have as a society.

Thank you

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