The lack of female leaders in the life science industry has been extensively documented over the years, with many people demanding change and routes for women to succeed. However, the fact that some women have broken the glass ceiling does not mean that opportunities are commonplace for women, leaving many believing that companies need to offer explicit routes that women can follow. We examined at what is needed for women to be able to enjoy fair representation in leadership roles.
Equity When Studying
No matter how much energy is put into talent spotting the best female candidates, we will never achieve a balanced workforce unless we start by thinking about how we educate our future leaders. Encouraging more women into a life science career must start by encouraging more women to study STEM fields! We can do that by breaking down gender barriers that educators and families put up and offering a more female-friendly learning journey that includes project work and removing gender bias in the learning materials being studied.
Support to Start Families
Once a woman has qualified and found a life science job, many companies believe that they offer an unbiased route to leadership, but this is rarely the case. One of the biggest career setbacks for a woman is the decision to start a family, requiring her to take time away from work and start again when she returns. Rather than punishing a woman for exercising her right to become a mother, why not provide a clear support system that enables her to take time off without negatively affecting her chances of promotion? In return, you can expect a motivated and dedicated employee that feels valued and respected and who will work hard to achieve her potential.
Role Models and Mentors
Another terrific way to show women that you want them to achieve within your company is to provide quality mentors and role models of the same gender who are willing to help the next generation of female leaders to reach new heights. These female mentors and role models prove to aspiring leaders that there is a place for women at the top and that achieving their goals is possible. Sadly, 63% of female workers across various industries have never been given a chance to work with a mentor, proving that we are failing our future leaders before they’ve even begun!
Finally, providing women-only opportunities to network and discuss leadership is an important offer for females in the life science industry. Opportunities like Women in Bio give them a chance to discuss the barriers they are facing without condemnation or a lack of acceptance. However, it is important to note that these opportunities are only ever successful if the findings are shared with the entire workforce so that change can happen with the agreement and support of everyone involved.
Find the Right Leader with GeneCoda®
If you haven’t already embraced the idea of offering equity within your company and striving for a diverse leadership team, it’s time to recognize the pivotal role that women can play in your strategy and GeneCoda® can help. As a leading executive search firm, we know exactly what to look for and how to help you offer women exciting opportunities at the top. Get in touch today to find out more.