WOMEN ACHIEVERS Walk­ing with Pur­pose

BioSpectrum (Asia) - - Bio Content -

Di­ver­sity in­clu­sion is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing an im­por­tant top-of-the-list board room agenda for a large num­ber of cor­po­ra­tions, and for good rea­son. In this con­text and talk­ing specif­i­cally about gen­der bi­ases, th­ese have par­tic­u­larly plagued our so­ci­eties for yore – rel­e­gat­ing women to roles that have tra­di­tion­ally been per­ceived as more fem­i­nine in na­ture but also ar­guably make a lesser con­tri­bu­tion and come with cur­tailed re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and in­flu­ence.

There has how­ever been some per­cep­ti­ble and pos­i­tive change in re­cent years. A large mea­sure of this is driven by some pi­o­neer­ing fe­male lead­er­ship that has emerged across in­dus­tries, and th­ese women have man­aged to change the nar­ra­tive and fo­cus through their own ex­am­ple and by bring­ing a per­spec­tive that was hith­erto miss­ing. Cor­po­rates are also wak­ing up to the re­al­iza­tion that this is not merely a feel­good fac­tor. In a macroe­co­nomic en­vi­ron­ment that now con­sis­tently de­mands in­no­va­tion and cost ef­fi­cien­cies - en­gag­ing their work­force in a gen­der ag­nos­tic way will also trans­late into bet­ter em­ployee en­gage­ment and over­all pro­duc­tiv­ity, which ul­ti­mately leads to a more re­silient and grow­ing bot­tom-line.

Women have been strug­gling to prove their prow­ess in ev­ery field and ob­tain­ing equal rights. The phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and health­care in­dus­try across the globe has long been dom­i­nated by men, a trait that is preva­lent in other in­dus­tries world­wide.

In a sim­i­lar vein, a big change is now also sweep­ing across the im­mensely tech­ni­cal and chal­leng­ing busi­ness land­scape of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and health­care in­dus­try across the globe. In the last few decades, lab­o­ra­tory and pharma busi­ness world has seen sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive changes. Today, the in­dus­try is wit­ness­ing fan­tas­tic fe­male lead­ers emerg­ing at the top, who not only hold po­si­tions of power within some of the big­gest phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and health­care com­pa­nies, but are also com­ing up with in­no­va­tive game-chang­ing ideas and ser­vices. Their busi­ness ac­u­men apart, th­ese women add tremen­dous value in shap­ing their or­gan­i­sa­tions.

This in­crease is not, for the most part, due to any generic pos­i­tive dis­crim­i­na­tion cre­ated by pharma com­pa­nies, but a rapidly grow­ing recog­ni­tion of the ta­lent and out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion women bring and will con­tinue to bring in the future.

UNSEEN BAR­RI­ERS

The progress made by women at work is sub­stan­tial de­spite of fac­ing bar­ri­ers like out­right sex­ism, as well as more sub­tle-but-pow­er­ful in­sti­tu­tional gen­der bi­ases, which re­main stub­bornly in­grained in busi­ness, as they do in day-to-day life. Deborah Rathjen, CEO, Bio­nomics has some num­bers to share, “In 2016 Forbe’s ar­ti­cle ti­tled “the World’s 10 most pow­er­ful CEO’s”, not a sin­gle fe­male made the cut. Delv­ing deeper into the world’s top-earn­ing pharma CEO’s of 2016, again women barely stood a chance, com­ing in at twelfth, among a sea of men. There is no doubt that the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try is a male dom­i­nated world. How­ever, with the re­cent ap­point­ment of a fe­male CEO at global pharma GSK, increasing num­bers of suc­cess­ful fe­male CEOs in biotech, and with more fe­males choos­ing science as a ca­reer path­way than ever be­fore, we can hope to close the gap in gen­der equal­ity. Im­por­tant to note is that lat­est re­search also sug­gests that re­turns to VCs are higher when there is a fe­male CEO.”

But much more needs to be done, even as the metaphor­i­cal glass ceil­ing is only just get­ting ac­knowl­edged but not nec­es­sar­ily be­ing dis­man­tled. Even in today’s time and work cul­ture, where women are still dis­crim­i­nated against, how dif­fi­cult is it for women to suc­ceed in male dom­i­nated work spheres? Is it true that women can­not main­tain bal­ance be­tween work and fam­ily? Is gen­der equal­ity still a dis­tant con­cept?

WORK/LIFE BAL­ANCE

Reach­ing the top man­age­ment gen­er­ally takes years of hard work, ded­i­ca­tion and per­sonal growth to ful­fil the de­mands of th­ese roles. The game is up one level

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