OUR STORY

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Chapters
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    1886–1914

    Early Women Workers

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    1886–1914

    Early Products to Help Women

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    1914–1945

    Empowering Women in Wartime

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    Today

    Supporting Women Today

Our Commitment to Women

For over 130 years, Johnson & Johnson has empowered women as both employees and consumers.

Chapter 1Early Women Workers

From the company’s earliest days, it has recognized women's important role in improving the health and wellbeing of families and communities.

1886

Johnson & Johnson launched in 1886 with 14 employees; eight of them were women.

1890

Into the early 20th century, as the company rapidly grew, so did the roles of women employees. They took on new leadership positions and carved out their own spaces for professional growth at a time when opportunities for women were extremely limited.

Women in the Workforce

1907

In 1907, a group of female Johnson & Johnson employees launched the Laurel Club to create a space for professional development, wellness, and community service.

1908

While some women became supervisors, others took office jobs and research positions. Among them was trained chemist Edith von Kuster, who, in 1908, became the company’s first woman scientist. She worked under the leadership of Scientific Director Fred Kilmer.

1910

And by the early 1910s, women led a quarter of Johnson & Johnson’s departments.

Chapter 2Early Products to Help Women

Johnson & Johnson’s earliest products show its support of women as consumers.

1880

Women were the focus of the company’s early consumer products and educational campaigns. Johnson & Johnson understood that as primary caregivers—both to their families and to the sick and injured as nurses—it was especially important to keep women healthy.

1880

In the 1880s, most women gave birth at home without the help of a doctor. With so much still unknown about delivery, complications were common, and often deadly, for mothers and their babies. Infection posed the biggest risk and could take hold within a matter of hours.

The Dangers of Delivery

1894

To make birth less dangerous, Johnson & Johnson invented the Maternity Kit. The kit contained sterile medical supplies and a detailed how-to guide to make delivery and the first days of life safer for mom and baby.

1897

The Maternity Kit included so many vital products that Johnson & Johnson began marketing them separately. The first was Lister’s Towels, the world’s first mass-produced sanitary pad. Disposable and sterile, it was a safer alternative to homemade methods.

1902

Also born from Maternity Kits was Hygiene in Maternity, a pocket-sized booklet for expectant mothers. Expanding upon the pamphlet included in the kits, this guide provided pregnancy tips, delivery instructions, and an overview of basic infant care.

1904

Continuing to expand its impactful baby care line, Johnson & Johnson released Lister’s Sanitary Diapers for Infants. Designed for everyday use, the disposable diapers were particularly helpful for traveling families.

1910

As women began to leave the home and enter the public sphere, Johnson & Johnson evolved to meet their changing needs. While the company continued to refine its products for mothers, it also developed new ones to support the unique needs of women in the workforce.

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Chapter 3 Empowering Women in Wartime

Two world wars expanded women’s roles as workers and altered their needs as consumers—Johnson & Johnson adapted to fulfill the changing demand.

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1917

When the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, many men volunteered for duty or were drafted into the military. Women stepped into factory roles to keep Johnson & Johnson running.

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1920

During the interwar years, Johnson & Johnson refined earlier women’s consumer products and developed new family planning methods to give women more control over their lives and careers.

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1939

When World War II broke out, women had the tools to work in factories and volunteer for duty.

Life on the Homefront

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1945

After the war, to keep pace with the evolving needs of women, Johnson & Johnson updated its company policies and products.

Chapter 4 Supporting Women Today

Through company policies and global partnerships, Johnson & Johnson continues to support women employees and women in communities worldwide.

Today, the company provides a minimum of eight weeks of parental leave for mothers and fathers across the world.

In addition to supporting women employees as mothers, Johnson & Johnson is dedicated to advancing and retaining future generations of women leaders.

Across the world, the company is striving to provide women in underserved communities with medical care and education to ensure they can be productive members of society and support their families.

For over 130 years, Johnson & Johnson has been committed to supporting women as employees, patients, and consumers, giving them the tools to succeed in the workplace and beyond.

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