Novartis walks-the-talk with the Red Shoe Movement
Nov 17, 2020
Diversity and inclusion is at the heart of our culture at Novartis as we aspire to create an environment that empowers our people to bring their best selves to work every day. We believe that fostering an equitable and inclusive workplace ensures fair opportunity for our associates to fulfil their potential so that they can continue to reimagine medicine and build a healthier tomorrow for all patients.
Over the past three years, we have been taking steps to improve gender inclusion at Novartis by pledging support to the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) and committing to achieve gender balance in management and improve pay equity and transparency processes by 2023. In addition, all Novartis UK associates, both men and women, will have access to 26 weeks of paid leave following the birth, surrogacy or adoption of a child by 2021.
To help reach our goal of achieving gender balance in management, we are proud to partner with the Red Shoe Movement (RSM), a company dedicated to strengthening the career and leadership development of women, and extend this support to associates in the UK. The RSM provides coaching to companies to improve gender inclusion and the professional growth of women, boosted by a global community of women and men allies who support each other for career success.
This movement is now more important than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly disrupted our normal working lives including placing added pressure on childcare and housework. Recent research has suggested that women’s careers have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic with women more likely to lose their jobs and as many as one in four are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce.1,2 The RSM spoke to Novartis associates about their recent experience and the potential benefits of renegotiating gender roles at home.
The RSM programme aims to provide training and skills development in areas such as leadership style, networking, communication and executive presence, to empower women for their own career advancement. The programme also includes events and activities, including a Step Up Men initiative, to further enhance inclusivity, mentoring and support within teams.
Another key aspiration of the RSM is to cultivate wider organisational change by creating a strong community of men and women champions and this message is amplified by the weekly awareness campaign ‘Red Shoe Tuesday’. This encourages those involved to wear something red to identify RSM advocates and act as a visual reminder to keep this important conversation going.
Mariela Dabbah, Founder and CEO of the RSM, said, “The RSM mission is to accelerate the representation of women at the highest levels of decision-making and we are proud to wear red shoes and accessories each week to show our support and invite ongoing conversations to level the playing field for one hundred percent of the talent. We are pleased to work with Novartis on their journey to becoming leaders in culture change and help them design a workplace that works for everyone.”
Julie Campbell, Head of People and Organisation for Oncology, Novartis UK and Ireland, said, “We are excited to strengthen our commitment to gender equity at Novartis with the RSM and encourage our associates to support each other for career success. We believe the programme will inspire confidence and foster a more inclusive environment so our associates are empowered to fulfil their professional potential and continue their work to reimagine medicine for all patients.”
November 2020 | COR20-E129
1. Women in the Workplace 2020. McKinsey & Company and Lean In. Available at:
https://wiw-report. s3.amazonaws.com/Women_in_the_Workplace_2020.pdf. Last Accessed October 2020.
2. Adams-Prassl A, et al. Inequality in the Impact of the Coronavirus Shock: Evidence from Real Time Surveys. Journal of Public Economics, 2020;189. DOI: doi.org/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2020.104245