Experts Talk

The pharmaceutical industry has long symbolized scientific progress and innovation, but it has also been a male bastion for far too long. Despite positive trends such as more women entering the industry, there's still a glaring gender gap in leadership positions, noted Uma Rao, Chief Human Resources, Officer (CHRO), from Granules India Ltd.

" As we reflect on these disparities, we must recognize that empowering women in pharma is not just about equality; it's about driving innovation, improving patient care, and enhancing decision-making," pointed out the Granules India CHRO.

Highlighting a McKinsey report, Uma Rao, observed that over half of new entrants to the global pharma industry in 2022 were women, a positive trend compared to many other industries. However, the appeal diminishes when we realize that nearly three-quarters of pharma C-suite members are men. This underrepresentation in leadership must change, not only for gender equality but also for the industry's betterment. Another McKinsey Global Institute report suggests that addressing gender disparities in a country like India could add up to $0.7 trillion to its GDP by 2025.

Exploring, why fostering D&I is crucial for women in the pharmaceutical sector and how one can work towards an inclusive future, Uma Rao stressed how Women folks can play a key role in driving innovation, creativity, and improved decision-making.

Driving innovation and creativity: Diverse teams, including women with varied backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, can lead to a richer pool of ideas focused on women's healthcare. In an industry where innovation is key, these diverse perspectives can challenge the status quo and lead to breakthroughs that directly benefit women, whether it's in the development of more effective treatments, the reduction of medicine costs, or the advancement of solutions for women-centric health conditions.

Capturing global diversity: Beyond the obvious benefits to women and their organizations, fair representation at the top of the pharma industry is important for another reason: the impact on the people being served. A more inclusive approach to clinical trials and patient-centric care will ensure that healthcare solutions are not one-size-fits-all but tailored to the specific needs of various demographic groups.

Improved decision-making: Research continuously proves that heterogeneous groups tend to be better at decision-making. In the pharma industry, there is no room for mistakes. Bringing various personal experiences, viewpoints, and perspectives to the table aids in identifying well-rounded decision-making processes.

Six key strategies to consider for the inclusive future of Women in Pharma:

Committing at the very top: It starts at the top. Female leaders must make a genuine and unwavering commitment to women's empowerment within the pharmaceutical industry. They should set the tone for the organization by demonstrating their dedication through actions and decisions, paving the way for a future where women not only have a seat at the table but also lead the way in shaping the industry's successful future.
Inclusive Hiring: Review and update hiring practices to reduce biases. Implement blind recruitment techniques, create diverse interview panels, and establish clear diversity goals for recruitment.
Diverse Leadership Development: Invest in developing diverse talent for leadership roles. Mentorship programs, leadership training, sponsorships, and progressive initiatives that walk the talk are essential in nurturing the talent pipeline and ensuring that women have a fair shot at top roles.
Inclusive Culture: Promote an inclusive culture where every female employee feels valued and respected. Encourage open communication, offer diversity and inclusion training, and establish employee resource groups. Gender sensitization is important.
 Data-Driven Approach: Use data to measure progress and identify areas that need improvement. It is critical to have a listening post, where gender issues can be reported and handled. Regularly assess diversity metrics, female employee feedback, and engagement levels.
Collaboration for Change: Collaborate with external organizations and experts to bring fresh perspectives and best practices into your organization. Networking and partnerships can help create a supportive ecosystem that fosters the growth and empowerment of women in the sector.

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