Gender parity in health care, life sciences leadership? Group says it’s close to reaching 50% goal

Group of 15 leading health care and life sciences companies has seen huge advances for women at SVP and manager levels

The Gender Parity Collaborative announced groundbreaking progress toward gender parity and equity in the health care and life sciences industries, according to a recent update of the Women in the Workplace study issued by McKinsey & Co.

The group, a consortium of 15 leading health care and life sciences companies, was founded in 2018 within the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association with the singular goal of closing the gender gap in these industries.

The latest data in this special cohort report highlights improvements by the 15 companies, which include high-profile industry leaders such as Advanced Clinical, Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cardinal Health, Genentech, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Lundbeck, Medidata Solutions, Parexel, Pfizer, Quest Diagnostics, Real Chemistry, Sanofi and Takeda.

The report reveals that, specifically at the senior vice president and manager levels, equal gender representation has almost been achieved, with 48% and 49% of representation by women in those categories, respectively.

From 2018-20, the cohort doubled the representation of women senior vice presidents — jumping from 24% to 48%. In comparison, from 2018-20, the broader pharmaceutical and medical product sector only increased representation of women senior vice presidents by seven percentage points, going from 25% to 32%.

Marie-Caroline Strok, director, growth initiatives lead, Gender Parity Collaborative, shared that she is thrilled by the findings and is determined to continue this trajectory.

“We believed in the possibility and merit of this goal when we launched this consortium,” she said. “Our team is dedicated to ensuring companies’ systemic processes and policies are transformed to create a workplace that is equitable for all. Only by upgrading our work environment will we make sustainable progress on gender parity, diversity and inclusion.

“This progress would not be possible without the impressive leadership and commitment from the member companies that make up the Collaborative cohort.”

All 15 HBA Collaborative companies have significantly improved representation of women in the talent pipeline across all levels year over year. This has positioned the participating companies to continue outperforming the broader pharmaceutical and medical product industry verticals with great numbers.

In 2018, the HBA Collaborative identified and secured a collaboration with the renowned Women in the Workplace study. This relationship with McKinsey & Co. has enabled each Collaborative company to participate in the study and get its individual benchmark directly from McKinsey. It was critical to ensure that the progress and impact of the Collaborative was grounded in data, and this collaboration has positioned the organization to illustrate the incredible achievements of the past few years.