Roche commits to diversity & inclusion in the Middle East with the signing of the Middle East Inclusion & Diversity Council Charter

DUBAI, UAE, May 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Roche in the Middle East has reaffirmed its commitment to diversity and inclusion by signing the Middle East Inclusion & Diversity Council Charter. The company is among the latest companies that have pledged to accelerate greater gender balance in the region in line with the UN’s fifth sustainable development goal, which encourages an increase in the ratio of women in leadership positions to 30 percent by 2025.

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The Middle East Inclusion & Diversity Council seeks to unite like-minded organizations in the Middle East region in order to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace through collaboration and commitment to change. The charter commits organizations to assist women in advancing to senior positions in the region by focusing on the executive pipeline and the mid-tier level. It recognizes the region’s diversity and the fact that organizations will have different starting points; as a result, each organization should set its own goals and implement the best strategy for its organization.

Hani Ashkar, PwC Middle East Territory Senior Partner said: “At PwC Middle East, we are proud of our commitment and our ongoing efforts to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We recognize that achieving gender equality is a key component of the UAE’s vision for the future, and we firmly believe that the private sector has a defining role to play in making this vision a reality. As such, we are committed to empowering and advancing women in the workplace, and we place significant value on driving real change in our communities.”

As part of the commitment, Roche in the Middle East will work closely with the Council to implement best practices for inclusion and diversity in the workplace. The company will also prioritize education and training programs to raise awareness about the importance of inclusion and diversity and will foster a culture of openness and inclusivity where employees feel valued and respected.

Roche’s dedication to inclusion and diversity is already supported by a number of internal goals. The company targets continuous progression in Gender Diversity with the aim of creating a leadership that mirrors the organization and the societies that they serve. Link to the Roche Annual report here .

Olfat Berro, Area Head Middle East at Roche Pharmaceuticals in the Middle East said, “As stated by the World Economic Forum, “Improving the global health outlook for everyone will require a specifically women-centered approach to integrated healthcare services”. We can only develop future solutions and truly transform healthcare if we recognise how important addressing the specific needs and experiences of women in healthcare is to healthcare for everyone.

When women’s voices are part of the conversation can shape health systems that create better health outcomes for women everywhere. And this is a challenge for our region.

At 19%, the participation of women in the workforce in the MENA region is one of the lowest in the world and has been declining since 2020. While great efforts and progress have been made in the past decade, the MENA region has the second-largest gender gap yet to close, after South Asia, according to the world economic forum Gender Gap report 2022. As leaders in the Middle East, we have a critical role in ensuring that diversity and inclusion are core to our workplace culture and that our organizations represent our communities. That is why as part of the Middle East Diversity Council, we are proud of our pledge”.

Guido Sander, General Manager at Roche Diagnostics Middle East said, “I believe it is not only important for women to be celebrated, but also for men to actively step forward as allies and champions for gender equality in the workplace. Being an ally starts with listening. We must understand the experiences and perspectives of our female colleagues and actively support them in their professional journey. This means amplifying their voices and standing up for them when they encounter unfair treatment, challenging gender stereotypes, encouraging women to take on leadership roles, and promoting policies that support work-life balance. When we support and empower our female colleagues, we not only create a more diverse and inclusive environment but a more successful and innovative one as well.”

Omar Sherief Mohammad, Cluster Head – India, Middle East & Africa, Roche Diabetes Care said, “At Roche Diabetes Care our goal is to create a workplace that makes everyone feel equally involved and supported. This is especially important in terms of gender inclusivity. To enable this, we need to act as allies and create an inclusive and nurturing environment that provides equal growth opportunities to all irrespective of their gender, without any judgment. First step is to acknowledge our unconscious biases and educate ourselves. Next, we need to take concrete action to create policies that support equal growth for all and structured development programmes beyond the existing leadership forums that provide mentoring to women. Finally, we need to tell the stories of women who have created a growth journey for themselves in order to inspire other women in the organisation. I believe that this is of utmost importance because having a diverse and inclusive team can go a long way in shaping the future of the organisation.”

Maysoun Ramadan, Global Diversity & Inclusion Partner said, “The announcement of taking an active role in The Middle East Inclusion & Diversity Council is a testament to our firm belief that advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion can be positively driven through dialogue and exchanging experiences between different organization and leveraging them to amplify the collective impact. Roche has a strong commitment to DE&I across the world and today we celebrate this moment in the Middle East .”

About Roche

Founded in 1896 in Basel, Switzerland, as one of the first industrial manufacturers of branded medicines, Roche has grown into the world’s largest biotechnology company and the global leader in in-vitro diagnostics. The company pursues scientific excellence to discover and develop medicines and diagnostics for improving and saving the lives of people around the world. We are a pioneer in personalised healthcare and want to further transform how healthcare is delivered to have an even greater impact. To provide the best care for each person we partner with many stakeholders and combine our strengths in Diagnostics and Pharma with data insights from the clinical practice.

In recognizing our endeavor to pursue a long-term perspective in all we do, Roche has been named one of the most sustainable companies in the pharmaceuticals industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the thirteenth consecutive year. This distinction also reflects our efforts to improve access to healthcare together with local partners in every country we work.

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