Sep 08, 2021
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Meeting the challenges of gender equality in the chemical distribution sector
IMCD Italy was featured in the September issue of Harvard Business Review for its involvement in the fifth edition of STEMintheCity
Gender equality represents one of the two priorities that have been focal points for UNESCO since 2008. In the 2019 review of the Priority Gender Equality Action Plan 2014-2021, we see that just 35% of all secondary school students choosing STEM subjects are female, with a large difference between the various disciplines.
Amongst the main focus areas for the Organisation are education to develop leadership skills and abilities, and the promotion of gender equality in accessing study and career pathways in scientific fields.
In April, Milan celebrated the fifth edition of STEMintheCity, an initiative promoted by the United Nations that aims to reach some ambitious goals: to spread the culture of STEM disciplines, to erase the stereotypes which distance girls from technical-scientific subjects and to narrow the gender divide in STEM careers and professions.
The values and aspirations that the project encourages are a perfect reflection of those promoted by IMCD Italy, part of the IMCD Group, which is a global leader in the sales, marketing and distribution of speciality chemicals and ingredients. For the first time ever IMCD Italy, celebrating its 25th year in business, elected to support STEMintheCity as main partner. Historically, the Company has been known for the competence and professionalism of its people, as well as being actively involved in creating equality of gender and opportunity.
The fifth edition of STEMintheCity was an opportunity for IMCD Italy – the first main partner operating in the chemical sector – to draw awareness to the role of Technical Sales Manager, which is complex and requires not only adequate training and solid, specialised technical know-how, but also a wide array of so-called soft skills which are no less important. These aspects of the role are fundamental and yet often overshadowed, unmentioned or completely unknown.
The figure of Technical Sales Manager is at the foundation of the Company’s operations and plays a primary role in development and in researching and creating the solutions that our customers expect from us. In brief, the Technical Sales Manager participates in the making of the products that our partners bring to market every day, and this blending of experiences helps innovation flourish. Through videos, articles, and a final event in live streaming, we endeavoured to put the spotlight on the vast array of opportunities that boys and girls who have studied scientific subjects can take advantage of, looking beyond laboratory work.
The numbers for this edition have been impressive, gathering over 56,000 participants including digital supporters, and with a global audience reaching almost one million users. The series of videos that IMCD Italy created, featuring seven career women with a technical-scientific background, operating in a variety of roles in different Business Units (from Food to Pharma, and from Construction to Beauty and Personal Care), have together topped 100,000 viewings.
This project is the first in a series of concrete actions that IMCD Italy is taking to advance the theme of gender equality especially in the STEM area of which it is part, aiming to generate awareness and opportunities for the coming generations.
The Company has recently created a collaboration with CESOP, HR Consulting Company, to underpin the project “Ingenio al Femminile. Storie di donne che lasciano il segno” (“Feminine Engineering. Stories of women who leave their mark”), promoted by the National Council Italian Engineers. The project aims to highlight the skill and professionalism of women in engineering and to promote women’s entry to the world of work, rewarding the best new Engineering graduates’ theses around the theme of “Sustainability in all of the sectors of engineering to reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda”.
“The challenges of the future are now part of our present day” underlines Marco Madeddu, Managing Director of IMCD Italy “and these concrete actions, together with our forward-thinking and shared vision are the ones that will produce a new model of sustainable development for the current and coming generations of talents”.
*Published on Harvard Business Review Italia, September 2021