While our United Force for Change community is emboldened by the progress we are witnessing in workplace equality, particularly in our healthcare and life sciences sector, we are acutely aware of the work that lies ahead to address the unacceptable reality that women — especially women of color — are still underrepresented at all levels of leadership.
Like many organizations over the past two years, our not-for-profit, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA), recognized and embraced the seismic shifts that widely exposed racial, gender, economic, and health inequities. As we envision a more equitable future, it’s critical we learn from lessons of the past to inform and help us build a solid foundation to accelerate our journey toward even bolder objectives for a united path forward.
Since our founding 45 years ago by three women, we have grown in size, stature, relevance, and influence. Today, our reputation as a “United Force for Change” is fueled by a committed network of more than 13,000 members, 180 corporate partners, and the influential advocates and thought leaders of our 15 Gender Parity Collaborative companies. All said, these industry organizations represent a collective workforce of more than 5 million people of all genders.
While staying true to our core mission of advocating for gender equality, the HBA commits to working together with its members and stakeholders to build an even more inclusive place of belonging. We are unwavering in our efforts to double down and fast forward our diversity, equity, inclusion journey after hearing the personal stories of our BIPOC community and seeing the data now ubiquitous in the aftermath of COVID.
In 2022, the HBA will be bolder and louder in advocating for companies to create inclusive business environments and invest in women’s economic empowerment. We need look no further than our Collaborative companies who have embraced the call to action and willingly share their experiences and best practices with the global HBA community.
Coming together for workplace equality
The Collaborative, a global consortium of pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, was born out of HBA’s recognition that women do not need “fixing,” but rather it’s the systems themselves that need “fixing” to accelerate progress for all women. After three years of working together, we see positive trends for women in these organizations. Collaborative companies, on average, have nearly achieved equal gender representation at senior vice president (SVP) and manager levels, reaching 48 and 49 percent representation, respectively.
It’s also worth noting that while we have witnessed representation of women of color drop off between entry level and the C-suite in much of corporate America, Collaborative companies are building a diverse pipeline of women who are ready for leadership roles and breakthroughs into the C-suite.
There are more women at the director, vice president, and SVP levels at Collaborative companies compared to the broader pharmaceutical and medical product sector average, and more women of color at all levels of management compared to the all-industries average. With the HBA as a trusted convener, these global leaders are systemically transforming their organizations to be as diverse as the communities they serve.
With the backdrop of Women’s History Month in March, it’s a timely opportunity to appreciate the trailblazers and pioneers who have paved the way and set the stage for women in today’s workplace. We owe them an infinite sum of gratitude for their efforts and tenacity. It is now on us to promote, advocate, and be vocal, loud, and bold so that as a United Force for Change — together — we build an equitable and inclusive future for women worldwide.