Why and How Life Science Companies Should Prioritize Gender Inclusion
There is no question that women have made great strides in the life sciences over the past few decades. From Nobel Prize winners to groundbreaking researchers, women have been at the forefront of scientific discovery.
However, despite these achievements, women are still underrepresented in the life sciences. In fact, according to Biospace's 2022 Women in Life Sciences report, although women make up 48% of the life science workforce, they make up only 31% of executive-level positions.
Needless to say, there is still a bit of room for improvement when it comes to gender inclusion and diversity in the life sciences industry.
Why Should Gender Inclusion be a Priority?
There are many reasons why gender diversity should be a priority in the life sciences industry.
For one, research has shown that companies with diverse leadership teams tend to outperform their counterparts. This could be due to the fact that diverse teams are able to bring a wider range of perspectives and skills to the table, leading to more innovative thinking.
After all, women make up half of the population, and if a company is not reflecting that diversity in its leadership, it is likely missing out on valuable insights.
What's more, increasing gender diversity in the life sciences can help to address the industry's current talent shortage. For example, according to a report by NSC Research Center, women make up nearly 60% of all college graduates in the United States 2021-2022 academic year.
This demonstrates that there is a large pool of talented women who could be tapped into in order to help fill the industry's talent gap and bring much-needed diversity to the field - but they need to be given the opportunity to succeed and be promoted into leadership positions.
Additionally, diverse companies are also better positioned to attract and retain top talent. Of all professionals surveyed in Biospace's latest report, 88% of non-POC women respondents and 93% of POC women respondents said that they believe diversity is important when considering a job.
In short, companies that do not prioritize diversity are likely to miss out on valuable talent and potential. With 60% of college graduates being women, and nearly all women surveyed in Biospace's inclusivity report believing that diversity is important, it stands to reason that companies that are not diverse are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent.
Women make up half of the population, so it is essential that their voices are represented in the development of new treatments and therapies. These elements are vital to the success of the life sciences industry - and gender diversity is key to achieving them.
How the Life Sciences Compare
Compared to other industries, the life science industry fares slightly better than average when it comes to workforce diversity for women. For example, a 2021 report by GrantThornton found that women filled only 26% of executive-level positions across all industries.
It is worth noting, however, that this figure is an 11% increase from 2019, in which women occupied only 15% of executive-level positions. This goes to show that there are some steps being made to improve gender diversity in leadership, but there is still a long way to go.
How to Prioritize Gender Inclusion
There are a number of initiatives that can be implemented to improve diversity in the life sciences.
First and foremost, companies need to make a commitment to diversity and inclusion. This means creating a company culture that values diversity and providing employees with the resources they need to succeed.
It is also important for companies to invest in employee resource groups (ERGs) and diversity training programs. ERGs can help to promote a sense of belonging and inclusion for employees, while diversity training programs can help to educate employees on the importance of diversity and how to create an inclusive environment.
Finally, companies should look for ways to increase the representation of women and other underrepresented groups at all levels of the organization. This can be done through targeted recruitment and mentorship programs.
All-in-all, increasing diversity in the life sciences industry is critical to its success. By making a commitment to diversity, investing in employee resource groups and diversity training programs, and increasing the representation of women and other underrepresented groups, companies can help to create a more inclusive environment that will ultimately lead to better products and services for all patients.