Our Progress in Saudi Arabia
Hikma maintains a commitment to merit-based employment, irrespective of gender, race, age or background. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), we identified gender disparity as an area of potential improvement, and in 2012 we put in place an action plan to address this deficit.
Since then, we established several policies and measures to promote gender equality in Jazeera Pharmaceuticals Industries (JPI) – our KSA facility – while at the same time accommodating and respecting cultural sensitivities. This enabled us to dramatically increase the headcount of women at the facility while also addressing SDG targets 5.5 and 5.c. Through our commitment, we succeeded in increasing the number of female employees at JPI from 2 to 58 between 2012 and 2016.
Gender Empowerment at Hikma and the SDGs: Where we Contribute
SDG Target 5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
SDG Target 5.c: Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.
- Accommodating local culture: Establishing ‘women-only’ packaging and packing lines.
- Including more women in our training and development agenda.
- Empowering more women in managerial roles within the company.
Gender Disparity as a National Deficit
Saudi Arabia currently ranks 142nd out of 144 countries in the Gender Gap Index. While it has sought to address this issue through a range of policy reforms including increased maternal leave and incentives for private companies to hire women, there remains ample room for improvement. Women in KSA only make up 16% of the country’s labor force, while unemployment for women far outweighs that of their male counterparts (32.5% vs. 5.9%).
1 Operating in this context, Hikma recognizes that its policy to improve gender ratios at its JPI facility is important to both the company and the country in general.