BIO (Biotech Innovation Organization) collected a survey in January of 2020 to better understand the current demographics of biopharma companies. Responses to their questions on representation indicate that the number of women decreases at higher levels. They found that at the average company in 2019, 46% of total employees are women, 28% of an executive team are women, and 19% of the board are women. As a further example, only 16% of CEOs of the companies in the survey are female. And another study by an executive search firm, Lifestream, along with MassBio, found that only 15% of women were on boards in 2017.
Though we’ve moved from 15% to 19% since 2017, there is still more work to be done. Women holding leadership positions on boards is positively associated with other women directors having longer board tenures. Recognizing the value of gender-diverse boards, institutional investors are starting to vote against all-men boards in US companies.
Though there’s no shortage of female-led biotech companies, why do women still make up less than 20% of biopharma boards? Often times women are asked “have you been on a board before?” and we know that once you are actively doing the board director work, you are suddenly being sought for additional positions. But how do women get that initial experience into the “club” when they continue to face roadblocks?
Locust Walk invited Laurie Halloran, President & CEO of Halloran Consulting, to moderate the panel “knocking At The Door: Challenges Women Face With Biopharma Boards” to further discuss this topic. Laurie is also on the board of Locust Walk and led the discussion with her esteemed colleagues: Laura Brege, Managing Director, Cervantes Life Science Partners, Halley Gilbert, COO & CBO, Adagio Therapeutics, and Jodie Morrison, CEO of Cadent Therapeutics.
- Common challenges women face trying to get on boards
- Our panelists Insights and context behind those challenges
- Strategies and best practices to get boardroom ready
- Networking opportunities for women with the right people
- The downside for biotechs maintaining the status quo
Click here to watch the panel recorded on Thursday, September 24th.