Is Pharmacy Sector Really Challenging Women’s Leadership?

Pharmacy Sector

Women in pharma are having challenges in many stages of their life including for women in leadership roles.

The lack of gender diversity is a problem that affects many industries in the nation, and the pharmaceutical industry is one where women in pharma are underrepresented. Only 11% of the 49.5 million-person pharmaceutical workforce, according to a Mercer India research, are women.

A recent study of 450 tech professionals found that when asked how the epidemic has affected their work lives, 57% of women at work said they felt more burned out than 36% of males. In addition, compared to 33% of males, 43% of women in pharma claimed to have taken on greater responsibility at work during the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, mothers are three times more likely than women in leadership roles without children to turn down leadership positions.

The statistics in India are even worse when it comes to women in leadership roles. There is still much to be done to address the gender gap issues in the pharmaceutical industry, despite the fact that the sector has some notable women leaders, including Zahabiya Khorakiwala, Managing Director at Wockhardt Hospitals, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Founder and Chairperson of Biocon Limited, Samina Vaziralli, Executive Director of Cipla, and Anjula Masurkar, Clinical Director at ENTOD Pharmaceuticals.

According to a McKinsey Global Institute analysis, India could increase its GDP by up to $0.7 trillion by 2025 if it paid more attention to the lopsided gender equality ratios for women in pharma and all industries as well.

The gender maturity of the industry is still fairly underdeveloped, according to the WILL GQI (Gender Quotient Index) for women in pharma businesses. This is a blatant sign that ecosystems for enhanced gender inclusion and women in leadership roles are still being developed by women working in the pharmaceutical industry. According to Mercer’s research, only 14% of employees in the life sciences are women.

To encourage women at work to take up high roles as leaders, it may be claimed that there aren’t enough leadership pipelines. The majority of recruiting takes place at the entry-level, indicating that it will take several years for women to hold leadership positions in the pharmaceutical sector.

It is essential to take action to hire the tech-women at top levels and strengthen leadership given that the majority of attention is focused on hiring at the entry and mid-levels. Academic medical centers and universities should consider expanding the number of labs led by tech women in addition to adopting policies that call for more inclusivity.

Major research universities generally don’t hire women at a rate that has an impact on the overall numbers. The majority of women in pharma or biotech in the top positions at large come from the clinical or commercial side of the industry rather than the research track, which is another explanation for this.

In addition to the difficulties faced by women in the pharmaceutical industry, the IT sector also has a significant retention problem for women who do enter the profession especially for women in leadership roles. Women leave the IT business at a rate that is 45% higher than that of men, according to the Women in Tech Network, because they lack role models and have had to make major personal sacrifices. Given the high costs of employee turnover on both a financial and cultural level, it is best for businesses in this field to pay attention to and accommodate their female staff.

Therefore, in addition to family responsibilities, there are several structural obstacles for women in pharma and tech leadership roles, such as a lack of STEM degrees, unequal pay, and problematic workplace cultures. Companies need to understand that closing the gender diversity gap in the C-suite necessitates a firm-wide commitment to assisting women in assuming these positions. The support should continue for mothers who are also working women in the pharmaceutical or tech industries. Women who want to be leaders need support from those in positions of authority, as well as from others around them, such as spouses, coworkers, or outside organizations, as well as from within, through self-advocacy.

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