Setting the stage for a more equitable future

Updated: Sep 26

Words by The HBA Community

The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association tells GOLD about the seismic shifts in equality in the healthcare and life sciences sectors, as well as their ambitions to drive even more change in diversity, equity and inclusion in the future


While the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) is emboldened by the progress we are witnessing in workplace equality, particularly in our healthcare and life sciences sectors, we are also ideally positioned to set the stage for a more equitable future for women, especially women of colour, who are still underrepresented at all levels of leadership.


Like many organisations over the last two years, our not-for-profit association has recognised and embraced the seismic shifts that widely exposed racial, gender, ethnic, economic and health inequities. Therefore, it is critical we learn from lessons of the past to inform and help us build a solid foundation to accelerate our journey towards even bolder objectives for a united path forward.


A united force for change


Since the HBA’s 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 global network of more than 14,000 members, 180 corporate partners and the influential advocates and thought leaders of our 15 ‘Gender Parity Collaborative’ companies. All said, these industry organisations represent a collective workforce of more than five million people of all genders.

The HBA is committed to working together with its members and stakeholders to build an even greater inclusive place of belonging. We are unwavering in our efforts to double down and fast forward our diversity, equity and inclusion journey after hearing the personal stories of our black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) community and seeing the data now ubiquitous in the aftermath of COVID-19.


Gender parity and representation


To grasp how this could be achieved, we need to look no further than our Gender Parity Collaborative companies who have embraced the call to action and willingly share their experience and best practices with the worldwide HBA community.


The Collaborative – a global consortium of pharmaceutical and life sciences companies – was born out of the HBA’s recognition that women do not need ‘fixing’, rather it’s the systems themselves that need fixing to accelerate progress for all women. Collaborative companies, on average, have nearly achieved equal gender representation at Senior Vice President and Manager levels, reaching 48% and 49% representation respectively.


It’s also worth noting that while we have witnessed representation of women of colour drop off between entry level and the C-suite in much of corporate America, Collaborative companies are building a diverse pipeline of women ready for leadership roles and breakthroughs into the C-suite.


There are more women at the Director, Vice President and Senior Vice President levels at Collaborative companies compared to the broader pharma and medical product sector average. And there are more women of colour at all levels of management compared to the all-industries average.


It is now on us to promote, advocate, be vocal and present so that as a united force for change – together – we build an equitable and inclusive future for women worldwide. This year, the HBA will be bolder and louder in advocating for companies to create inclusive business environments and invest in women’s economic empowerment.


As we are ready for our annual ‘Woman of the Year’ event on 10 May 2022, with a nod to a new era of leadership, and celebrating in New York City and virtually across the globe, we invite you to join us. Together, we will set the stage for a future of infinite hope and possibilities.


This article features in GOLD 21 – read the full issue here.