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Our Heritage

136 Years of Championing Women's Health

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Supporting the well-being of people around the world is a tenet that underscores all the work the company does. From must-have educational manuals to cutting-edge contraception, explore how Johnson & Johnson has been advocating for women's health since the company's inception more than a century ago.
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When Johnson & Johnson was founded in 1886, eight of the company’s first 14 employees were women. And by 1908, women led a quarter of Johnson & Johnson’s departments.

Since then, the company has continued to provide support and opportunities to women around the world, especially in the area of healthcare. By innovating transformational medical advances, partnering on global public health programs, offering comprehensive employee benefits and more, the company has shown its commitment to putting good health in reach of women everywhere.

As Johnson & Johnson expands its medical benefits, we take a look back at the many ways the company has changed how women access, receive and are empowered by healthcare, paving the way to a more equitable and healthier future for everyone.

  • A person doing a video call on a laptop
    2022

    Making Medical Care Easier to Access

    Johnson & Johnson has a long history of caring for the health of its employees and their families—including supporting them in accessing the care they need, when they need it. That’s why the company now covers travel expenses for eligible medical services not available from any in-network or out-of-network provider within 100 miles of an employee’s home. This benefit applies not only to company employees in the United States but to their families, as well.

    Plus, as part of its commitment to having the healthiest workforce, the company provides benefits and resources to support employees and their families in prioritizing their mental well-being.

    Globally, employees have access to an Employee Assistance Program to help manage work and life, locate a mental health counselor and more. Digital mental well-being resources support employees in handling stress, building resilience and developing skills to adapt to change.

    And U.S. employees and their families have access to additional mental health resources so they can get the support they need anytime, anywhere. These tools include live sessions with behavioral coaches for employees and their family members who are dealing with anxiety, self-esteem problems and cyberbullying and virtual therapy for anxiety, depression, burnout and more.

    The company also recently signed the Employee Well-Being & Mental Health Pledge from the Society for Human Resource Management to further affirm Johnson & Johnson's commitment to investing in employee health.

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  • A child smiling and looking up at their mom's pregnant belly
    2021

    Working to Improve Maternal Health for Black Women

    The U.S. has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, a dismal ranking that is largely driven by persistent racial disparities in pregnancy- and childbirth-related deaths. Case in point: Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women.

    Georgia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among all states. That's why the Johnson & Johnson Office of the Chief Medical Officer Health of Women team, is collaborating with Georgia-based universities, healthcare leaders and community organizations to help improve pregnancies and health outcomes for Black mothers. Multiple pilot projects are underway to investigate the creation of a comprehensive digital ecosystem of maternal health care services.

    As an example, the Health of Women team is collaborating with Georgia-based institutions to assess PM3 (Preventive Maternal Mortality Mobile Technology). Developed by a team of Black female scientists and innovators, PM3 is a digital intervention that aims to reduce morbidity and mortality by helping new mothers take charge of their own postpartum care. The app provides videos, podcasts and support groups focused on postpartum care and notifies health care providers about any postpartum-related complications.

    Johnson & Johnson is collaborating on research protocols on this and other pilots to understand the impact of interventions on health outcomes, racial equity outcomes and measures of health economics.

    And on a national level, Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures, an impact investment fund within the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, recently supported Health in Her Hue, a digital platform that helps Black women across the country find culturally competent doctors and healthcare practitioners and build community with one another.

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  • A hand holding up the dapivirine ring
    2020

    Innovating a Preventive Option for HIV/AIDS

    Women and girls account for 50% of new HIV infections worldwide. But across Africa, they face disproportionately higher rates from the AIDS-causing virus.

    One out of every five new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa occurs among adolescent girls and young women, despite this group representing just 10% of the population. In some African countries, 80% of new adolescent HIV infections are among girls.

    A vaginal ring developed by the nonprofit International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) is designed to release dapivirine—an antiretroviral drug that helps prevent HIV from replicating inside cells—into the vagina.

    Thanks to a worldwide license IPM received from the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health, women in low-resource settings will have affordable access to any dapivirine-based vaginal HIV prevention method. In 2020, the ring was prequalified by the World Health Organization; it is expected to roll out throughout 2022 in some countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, where the need for new HIV prevention tools for women is greatest.

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  • A mother holding her baby over her shoulder
    2015

    Offering Comprehensive Employee Benefits for Parents

    In 2015, all new parents—maternal, paternal, adoptive, surrogacy-assisted or foster parents—at Johnson & Johnson became eligible to take eight weeks of paid leave during the first year of the new child's birth or adoption. In 2022, the company extended parental leave to 12 weeks to give parents more time to bond with and welcome a new family member.

    And to help support employees who are eager to expand their families, in 2016 Johnson & Johnson began offering assistance with fertility treatments, adoption and surrogacy to both heterosexual and same-sex spouses.

    In the U.S., the company offers $35,000 per couple in financial assistance for fertility treatments. Employees wishing to adopt can receive $20,000 in reimbursement benefits per child. Surrogacy benefits are also $20,000 per child.

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  • A group of women in saris holding up their cell phones
    2010

    Delivering Vital Information About Pregnancy

    Since 2010, Johnson & Johnson has helped give expectant mothers living in underserved communities access to vital health information about pregnancy, labor and infant care through mobile messaging programs mMitra in India and MomConnect in South Africa.

    mMitra targets low-income women in urban Indian communities, where rates of death from pregnancy complications and early childhood disease are high. Through mMitra, women receive voice calls twice a week that provide preventive-care information tailored to their stage of pregnancy or the developmental stage of their child. To date, the program has reached more than 2 million mothers in India.

    MomConnect is a stage-based, twice-weekly text-messaging service for new and expectant moms that also enables them to text back with questions or feedback on the quality of care they've received. More than 9 million women have received MomConnect messages, and the program has expanded to nurses and midwives, too.

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  • The green, purple, red and yellow mothers2mothers logo
    2006

    Empowering HIV-Positive Women to Serve as Mentors

    In 2006, Johnson & Johnson began a partnership with Mothers2Mothers (m2m). The organization centers its work around "Mentor Mothers"—women living with HIV who are employed as community health workers to educate and support women and their families so that they can overcome barriers to medical care, ensure pregnant women living with HIV receive the medication and health services they need to stay in treatment and help HIV-negative people stay negative.

    Initially focused on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, today Mentor Mothers provide family-centered support from pregnancy and childhood to adolescence.

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  • The Ovutime ovulation predictor test box
    1985

    Pioneering an At-Home Ovulation Test

    A major win for family planning: In 1985 Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation released the Ovutime Ovulation Test, which included six days of tests that could predict ovulation up to 36 hours in advance.

    The kit was available over the counter, allowing women to test for ovulation in the privacy of their own homes rather than having to visit their doctor or rely solely on monitoring their physical signs and symptoms.

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  • The Advance pregnancy test box
    1984

    Debuting a Quick and Reliable Pregnancy Test

    In 1984, Johnson & Johnson introduced the Advance Home Pregnancy Test, which was 99% accurate—and provided results in 30 minutes. Tests that were on the market in the 1970s took two hours to show results, so this new advance gave women a much easier way to learn important information about their personal health status.

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  • A Stayfree mini-pads advertisement
    1971

    Creating Comfortable Period Protection

    The first sanitary products that didn’t require belts, hooks or special garments came from Johnson & Johnson, which introduced Stayfree® Mini and Maxi Pads in the early 1970s.

    The pads featured an adhesive strip that kept them in place and offered more streamlined protection that could withstand a lot more movement, like sports and exercise.

    It was a major update to the company's pioneering advance in the previous century: Lister's Towels, the first mass-produced women’s sanitary napkins, which Johnson & Johnson put on the market in 1897. Before their introduction, common forms of menstrual protection included rags and rabbit skins, which provided poor protection and were dangerously unsanitary. In 1902, the company began including sanitary pads in the company’s Dr. Cooke’s Maternity Packet.

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  • A black and white photo of the Ortho-Gynol box and tube and applicator
    1931

    Revolutionizing Contraception

    Before hormonal birth control was invented, the only options for women who wanted contraception were cervical caps and condoms. That's why it was so game-changing when Johnson & Johnson introduced Ortho-Gynol®, the first prescription contraceptive gel in the world designed to help women take charge of family planning.

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  • The Hygiene in Maternity handbook
    1902

    Delivering Important Maternal Health Information

    Until Johnson & Johnson debuted the Hygiene in Maternity manual, pregnant women didn't have many resources for finding reputable guidance on pregnancy and childbirth.

    The manual, which was available at local drugstores, was designed to fit into a woman's pocket or purse. It featured advice on calculating a delivery date, preparing for labor, exercise and more.

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  • Dr. Simpson’s Maternity Packet
    1894

    Providing Support During Childbirth

    Believe it or not, women used to be responsible for making sure that they had on hand all of the clinical supplies needed to deliver their babies at home (which is where most births took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries).

    To help ensure that mother and baby had a safe and healthy delivery, Johnson & Johnson teamed up with obstetricians to create Dr. Simpson’s Maternity Packet, a first-of-its-kind, mass-produced maternity kit, which contained items like sterile sutures, an obstetric sheet and ligatures, antiseptic soap and flannel for wrapping the baby.

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Read about more ways the company is invested in supporting women as they work to help change the trajectory of health for humanity.

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