‘Abysmal, but fixable:’ Inside biopharma’s renewed push to up racial and gender representation

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The biggest “a-ha!” moment during a recently held roundtable on advancing equality in biopharma may have come by way of the live polling.

Only 20% of the 10 or so drugmakers and CROs attending the roundtable said their corporate plans around diversity and inclusion were specific and intentional. Another 44% said they didn’t know if succession plans were in place for their top-performing leaders who are women of color.

On one hand, given longstanding issues of female underrepresentation among the industry’s upper echelons, these findings did not come as a surprise. On the other, the poll results were “astonishing,” as they demonstrated just how far industry has to go to achieve proper representation within its ranks, said Charlotte Jones-Burton, MD, founder of non-profit Women of Color in Pharma (WOCIP), which organized the event.

“It’s abysmal and inexcusable,” Jones-Burton said of the current racial and gender breakdown. Then again, she added, “We believe that it’s fixable and that’s where our opportunity lies.”

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The biggest “a-ha!” moment during a recently held roundtable on advancing equality in biopharma may have come by way of the live polling.

Only 20% of the 10 or so drugmakers and CROs attending the roundtable said their corporate plans around diversity and inclusion were specific and intentional. Another 44% said they didn’t know if succession plans were in place for their top-performing leaders who are women of color.

On one hand, given longstanding issues of female underrepresentation among the industry’s upper echelons, these findings did not come as a surprise. On the other, the poll results were “astonishing,” as they demonstrated just how far industry has to go to achieve proper representation within its ranks, said Charlotte Jones-Burton, MD, founder of non-profit Women of Color in Pharma (WOCIP), which organized the event.

“It’s abysmal and inexcusable,” Jones-Burton said of the current racial and gender breakdown. Then again, she added, “We believe that it’s fixable and that’s where our opportunity lies.”

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