25 November 2021

Interview with Silvia De Dominicis, Luiss Alumna, President and CEO Johnson & Johnson Medical; VP Confindustria Dispositivi Medici

When we talk about violence against women, we are not only referring to physical violence but also psychological, verbal, sexual and economic violence. In your opinion, what could be the way out? Is the approval of the law on equal pay a step forward in this direction too?

Violence against women is unacceptable in any form. At the root of violent behaviour, there are often cultural stereotypes about the role of women in society. These stereotypes lead to discrimination that still penalize women in both their private and professional lives. Laws, such as the newly approved law on equal pay, are certainly fundamental steps to guarantee equal rights for women. To see positive progress in culture and society, people’s behavior, men and women, must change. Every individual plays an important role, as a business leader, a parent, a spouse, a friend, a colleague: we must all strive to be a model of inclusion, equity and mutual respect. Luckily, new generations have much less prejudice than those we grew up with in the 80-90s.


Has being a woman in your career helped you or penalized you?

I don’t think my career is linked to my gender. In my professional career, I’ve always been driven by curiosity and the desire to learn new things, rather than by job titles and position rankings. This attitude gave me the opportunity to challenge myself in many roles and to create a skills profile in various business areas, as well as to develop the ability to being flexible and adapt to different contexts. For sure, I was lucky to work for a company where the value of gender diversity exists for over 130 years. For example, in the last century, 8 of the 14 first employees of J&J were women.


What’s the most important value we can teach our children to ensure that today’s worrying statistics are no longer so frightening tomorrow?

As I said before, it’s being a good example that will lead a culture change. Let’s take the time to think about the cultural stereotypes that also affect us as women. Each of us has experienced them, it’s about being aware of them. We must teach our children that there are no “girl” things and “boy” things. We must encourage our daughters to study science and teach our children to express their emotions without thinking these are signs of being weak. We must learn to distribute household and childrearing responsibilities between all family members (men, women, and children). Being parents involves mutual and shared responsibilities. It’s wonderful to live this experience together. Let’s stop feeling guilty for not being perfect in the different roles and not limit our personal achievements. Our children are watching us and they will become what we show them.


Chiara Rinaldi, Journalist