Black History Month: Working Toward a More Inclusive and Beautiful World

By Helene Pamon
Head of Personal Care, Sanofi &
Chair of PCPC’s DEI Advisory Group

Civil Rights activist Rev. Pauli Murray said, “True community is based on equality, mutuality and reciprocity. It affirms the richness of individual diversity as well as the common human ties that bind us together.” Rev. Murray is right; we must not just celebrate individual diversity but include everyone in every aspect of our society. This February is a good time to reflect on the beauty and personal care products industry’s work to make our companies and communities rise to this aspiration.

Certainly, the events over the last two years have sparked a much-needed examination of our role and responsibility in addressing society’s challenges around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) and its member companies are keenly aware that consumers expect us to create, influence, educate and advocate for change. That begins with taking steps to ensure our own proverbial house is in order. Companies are working together to strengthen inclusiveness at the company and brand levels.                

PCPC also took a critical look at its approach to DEI and how the association might support member practice and programs. I am proud to have worked with PCPC over the last year to bring together a Board-appointed Advisory Group (AG) of member company representatives who play a critical role addressing DEI and advancing best practices in their respective organizations. The AG’s mission is to harness the collective impact of the beauty and personal care products industry to be an agent for change toward a more just and equitable society. We are laser focused on what we can achieve as the collective, how we measure success and if needed, to course correct along our journey.  

PCPC member companies also engage with stakeholders to advocate for constructive DEI policies at the federal, state and local levels. For example, we’ve worked with the CROWN Coalition to advance anti-discrimination legislation known as the CROWN Act, which prevents discrimination based on characteristics – such as hair texture and cultural styles, particularly those common in the Black community – and specifically recognizes that Black people are disparately impacted and excluded from some workplaces based on physical appearance.

Last year, PCPC also announced the first annual Madam C.J. Walker Award for Excellence in DEI. The award recognizes an individual in the beauty industry who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to DEI through strong leadership and sustained efforts with a focus on workplace culture, programs and policies, or through external engagement with consumers and communities. Latriece Watkins, executive vice president, Consumables, Walmart U.S. received this award named after one of our industry’s icons.

Beauty and personal care companies understand that we all play a critical role in shaping the future, and we are making progress. However, we know there’s so much more to do and we are wholeheartedly committed to doing our part to encourage a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and beautiful future. When everyone is included, everyone wins.