Making your actions count makes inclusion count

28 Jan 2021 · 4 min read
By Silke Muenster, Chief Diversity Officer at Philip Morris International (PMI)

Written by

Silke Muenster, Chief Diversity Officer, Philip Morris International

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2020 was a challenging year, yet if there is one silver lining for me it’s this: That inclusion and diversity (I&D) efforts moved front and center of business strategies as a catalyst for long-term business success. And in a world of growing division and increasing distrust, there is also recognition that making public commitments to action, and tracking and reporting against them, are a critical part of how we make progress. This is how we make inclusion count. 

Taking on the role of PMI’s first Chief Diversity Officer was a good start, demonstrating our commitment to I&D at the highest level and signaling the strategic importance of this work to employees and those outside our organization
As a mathematician at heart—with a background in market research—my love of using data to understand the story behind the numbers has shaped my approach in how we can make a difference. Taking on the role of PMI’s first Chief Diversity Officer was a good start, demonstrating our commitment to I&D at the highest level and signaling the strategic importance of this work to employees and those outside our organization as a key enabler for PMI’s business transformation. 

I quickly realized, too, that we must involve everyone in this process as we strive to better our organization and make it more equitable. And for that to happen, we must count every milestone—giving employees and stakeholders confidence in the actions behind good intentions—and make our milestones count.

It’s why this news makes me so proud: For the first time, PMI has been recognized on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) for our progress in advancing gender equity and transparency in gender reporting. To be among the 380 companies who scored at or above the global threshold established by Bloomberg across the framework’s five pillars (female leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, sexual harassment policies, and pro-women brand) is gratifying. It demonstrates that our efforts to improve our gender balance at all levels across our organization and to maintain our global leadership on equal pay as the first globally EQUAL-SALARY certified company, among other factors, are important steps. 

Humbled by this achievement, I am acutely aware that there’s still much more to do. We are not there yet—and we aren’t stopping. So as I reflect on this milestone and for the days ahead, I feel honored, together with my team and the many I&D ambassadors across PMI, to be engaged in this key aspect of our work, and to be driving it forward. It is an essential part of being a responsible corporate citizen, it contributes to our shared global sustainability goals, and it is crucial to our progress toward delivering a smoke-free future. 

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