Since becoming the chief editor of Life Science Leader magazine, I have had the opportunity to attend a variety of trade shows and conferences. Several things have become apparent to me. Many of the conferences are organized by women. Many of the conferences are attended by women. Most of the speakers and roundtable discussions are conducted by men. One of the shows I attended this year had a 100% male keynote speaker panel. How is this possible when 75% of the organization team for this event consisted of women? Recent research indicates women now make up half of all workers and mothers are the primary breadwinners of co-earners in almost 2/3 of families.
Women in Pharma
In the pharmaceutical industry, nearly half of all employees are women. But, what about the percentage of women in management? It is debatable depending upon titles as to the official number. What is not debatable — there are not a lot of women in the top seat in big pharma. I printed a list of the top 50 pharmaceutical companies and got through the top 25 without finding one woman CEO! Of the top three executive management teams, only seven of 39 are women, or around 18%. Diversity among board members, from what I could tell, is even worse. Why do I bring this up?
Men are featured on the last seven covers of Life Science Leader, and I am well aware that does not accurately reflect our readership. However, in our defense, it does reflect the current state of the industry. So, I know you are asking, “Well what do you intend to do about it Rob?” Well, to be honest, I have already been doing something about it, but it takes time.
Networking Leads to Opportunity
Throughout my travels, I have been soliciting feedback from readers, executives, women, members of our editorial board, and minorities about the magazine. During these discussions I have been very transparent in asking for help in networking to executives. At one of these conferences I met Mary Rose Keller, VP of Clinical Development and Operations at Prometheus. Through her help, I am excited to announce that I will be attending the 2011 Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Woman of the Year Award luncheon. I hope to network with a variety of industry leaders at this event for future editorial opportunities. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, if anyone has a connection to Melinda Gates, have her give me a call (we’ve been unsuccessful). Since she has been listed as one of the top women in life sciences for her work with the Gates Foundation, I think she would make a great cover feature.