Women make up 90% of frontline health workers and 70% of the entire global health workforce, providing essential health services to around 5 billion people worldwide, as highlighted by Mary Stutts, CEO of Health Business Women’s Associationwhose mission is to advance women and their impact on the job market, underlines.
And yet, several factors are hindering women’s progress in this field, from the pandemic-induced mass exodus of women from the health sector to the broken pipeline of female leaders, who occupy only 25% of positions of management. There will be major impacts on the healthcare ecosystem if we do not resolve this workforce crisis.
“Societal expectations around gender have not kept up with the way we operate today,” says Takako Ohyabu, global director of corporate affairs and sustainability at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.
“We need adequate policies and incentives to achieve gender parity. In Japan, we see more mothers working in the workforce, but societal expectations of mothers haven’t changed: we’re expected to do everything without help. In India, you need your mother-in-law behind you to juggle work and life,” she explained.
“In Japan, if policymakers opened up more visas to caregivers, and if the government could say that women have the right to ask for help, it would make a huge difference. »
More emphasis on skills, less emphasis on qualifications
A host of initiatives are underway to advance gender parity and healthy equity at Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Merck (known as MSD in India), and Syneos Health. These can be applied and developed in all sectors to promote the advancement of women.
“HAS Johnson & Johnson, a number of initiatives allow us to give women the skills they need to continue to advance throughout their careers,” says Kristen Von Seggern, vice president of strategic programs, supply chain and of the firm’s operations. One of them is the Women in STEM²D program: science, technology, engineering, mathematics, manufacturing and design. It focuses not only on professional women, but also on youth and college students, seeking ways to help women, girls, young adults and already working women choose and pursue STEM²D careers. stay.
However, it is not just about degree studies. Meenakshi Nevatia, Country President and Managing Director of Pfizer India, explains how his company tackles parity at the local level, believing that the “imbalance” starts at home. “We go to villages near a large manufacturing plant in India to identify local students who not only have the qualifications needed to advance, but also the skills,” she explains. “We bring them into town, enroll them in colleges and give them housing and a change of job. We also take their parents.