Low Number of Female Representatives In Life Sciences

The number of female representatives in the Life Sciences industry are shockingly low. For a fact, women only hold 17% of senior management positions and 34% of middle management positions in life sciences companies. Those numbers are referred to women working in Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology. The lack of females in the life sciences industry is quite disappointing, given that the industry itself shows forward-looking trends.

Although companies, such as Medtronic, Stryker and IBM Watson Health have women in high ranking positions, at an overall view, there are clearly not enough women. It is an accepted fact, that women make up half of the population and therefore represent half of health care consumers. With all the promising innovative changes that occur in the life sciences industry, the low number of women employed in the health care sector creates a real imbalance.

To close the gender gap within the industry, companies must encourage participation from all employees to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, no matter the gender. Furthermore, providing more flexibility regarding working shifts can help women and men to perform their best at work while still fulfilling their responsibilities at home.

Melissa Bernstein, executive vice president of a medical device company she co-founded 16 years ago, says that women are still the primary decision-makers when it comes to family and health. However, medtech and biotech industries don’t mirror the consumer base. This can result in suboptimal health care products, given that women don’t necessarily share the same perspectives and opportunities like men. Bernstein also shares some strategies that can help industries to finally narrow the gender gap.

Part of this strategy is to further encourage team work where men and women work side by side and, together, create trustworthy and effective products for consumers. Moreover, being committed to transparency is another crucial point. When it comes to hiring people, the focus must always be on skills and qualifications. That being so, women need to show their accomplishments and speak up when they have ideas or solutions to strengthen female leadership. Skill-building programs and mentoring programs can help women believe in themselves and successfully use their potential.

At STRAMMER we are proud to encourage both, women and men, and embrace diversity in respect of gender, culture and sexual orientation.

References:

  • Boston Globe. Shirley Leung (September 2017). Why too few women in life sciences is bad for business. Available at: https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/09/20/why-too-few-women-life-sciences-bad-for-business/crkrbriWLw2IKJMoIzCjgI/story.html
  • Medical Plastic News. Lu Rahman (June 2018). Time we take the gender issue seriously. Available at: https://www.medicalplasticsnews.com/news/opinion/time-we-took-the-gender-issue-seriously/
  • HBA Whitepaper. Progress of Women Executives in Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals. Available at: https://www.hbanet.org/sites/hba/files/docs/Research_Studies/EDGE-White-Paper-Abstract-v2.pdf