Wise Words from Women at the Top

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For international women’s day 2019, PharmaBoardroom looks back on conversations we have had with inspiring female pharma leaders to bring you their words of wisdom on the value of diversity, tackling gender inequalities and closing the gap.

 

Big Pharma & Gender Equality

Cristina Campos, vice-president at APIFARMA

A key player within the Portuguese pharmaceutical  industry, Cristina Campos leads the affiliate of market leader Novartis, and serves as vice-president at APIFARMA, the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Association. What’s more, Campos’ branch of Novartis has been recognised as a model for gender equality.

 

Novartis headquarters is an attractive example of this diversity in action, where several women hold senior roles and leadership positions, to reflect society’s progression in promoting people of all persuasions.

For Novartis, equality goes beyond gender. We are delighted that gender issues are a thing of the past in Novartis Portugal, and as such we use Portugal as an example and incentive to other countries. Within the Portuguese pharmaceutical sphere, Novartis can also act as a role model for diversity and inclusion in gender. However, Novartis intends to be a role model for other types of diversity: thinking styles, backgrounds, and generations and as such, we work on these levels of diversity so that we have equal opportunities from different areas, beyond gender.

Novartis headquarters is an attractive example of this diversity in action, where several women hold senior roles and leadership positions, to reflect society’s progression in promoting people of all persuasions. Novartis can be an excellent example of gender equality, although we would like to be known for more than just gender equality as we also invest in promoting and treating all backgrounds equally.

 

Read the full interview here.


 

Promoting Empowerment at Every Level

Ana Dolores Román, general manager, Pfizer Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia 

As the first woman to lead Pfizer in Ecuador, Ana Dolores Román is fiercely passionate about gender equality and has implemented strategies in this area which appear to be paying off for her branch of the pharma giant. 

 

Diversity is deeply connected to what we are implementing in all our business units. It is the source of innovation and competitive advantage. We need to continue working together to make a positive difference in our patient’s lives, families and society.

 

I truly believe that it is vital to have the passion for equality. In Ecuador, one in ten CEOs are female, which means the situation is improving. In order to achieve gender equality, women and men need to be open to working together because they can provide diversity of thinking and operating.

At Pfizer, we recognize and value the significant contributions women of our company make every day. We are committed to strengthen women capabilities and to promote an inclusive culture across our cluster and in our region. Diversity is deeply connected to what we are implementing in all our business units. It is the source of innovation and competitive advantage. We need to continue working together to make a positive difference in our patient’s lives, families and society.

Our strategy imperatives for driving gender equity are 1) Promotion of an inclusive environment and encourage greater representation of women in management positions; 2) Exhibition of women role models at all levels in the company to promote their growth; 3) Initiatives, resources and tools to promote women’s empowerment, leading at every level. This goes hand in hand with our internal policies and code of conduct which promote the diversity and inclusion in our company, such as equal opportunities in selection processes and promotions, pay equity, zero tolerance of discrimination and violence, reporting compliance channels, flex time and flex site, and work-life balance benefits.

We are making significant progress in our cluster (Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia) For example; women represent 58 percent of our colleagues in the cluster, 60 percent of our leadership board and 50 percent of Pfizer’s directors in Latin America. In Ecuador specifically, our internal engagement survey in 2017 reported that 100 percent of colleagues agreed with the statement “my manager cares about me and respect me”, 98 percent “can report unethical conducts without fear”, 97 percent agreed that “Pfizer have fair and transparent selection processes and promotions” and 100 percent will recommend Pfizer as a great place to work.

 

Read the full interview here.


 

Closing the Gap

Marieta Jiménez, President and General Manager of Merck Spain

Marieta Jiménez takes a strong stance on improving the lives of women in Spain and closing the gender gap. So much so, that she has enrolled her branch of Merck in an initiative aiming to do just that. 

 

If we can demonstrate that there is a gap in the different sectors and can prove the contribution of woman can create positive economic growth, this will be the best way to help equality in the workplace.

 

This is a cluster of 8 leading companies– Merck, BMW Group, Repsol, Vodafone, MAPFRE, Mahou San Miguel Solán de Cabras, Meliá Hotels International and L’Oréal – all working to transform the situation for women in Spain. If we can demonstrate that there is a gap in the different sectors and can prove the contribution of woman can create positive economic growth, this will be the best way to help equality in the workplace.

Therefore, each company conducted a study in their respective areas, such as Merck for healthcare, Vodafone for digital etc. These are gaps that most people do not understand exist, as most people look at the blanket rule of comparing salaries. With 500 thousand Spanish employees within the 8 companies, we have the ability to put in place our own initiatives, but most importantly, we must use our data to discuss at the governmental level what changes should be made for greater woman’s equality.

We aim to close the gap between men and woman so society can benefit as a whole. Last November, we published the healthcare report indicating the implications of how equality within health would benefit the nation, and every two months the cluster will be publishing a new report on each business sector being studied. Nevertheless, this is all just data, and now we must work together to find solutions like this which will, in the end, bring about the change required.

 

Read the full interview here


Breaking the Stigma

Inês Barata Correia, general manager of the Iberia affiliate of HRA Pharma

Inês Correia, general manager of the Iberia affiliate of HRA Pharma, a fast-growing consumer healthcare company and leader in women’s health, is determined to break the stigma around women’s health products such as emergency contraception (EC). 

 

We want to start an open conversation about emergence contraception. 

 

The morning after pill has been associated with irresponsible behaviour, when in fact, it is a demonstration of the opposite. We want to start an open conversation about EC, and with this in mind, ellaOne is launching a digital campaign ‘Mi Día Después’ (my day after) that aims to inform about the responsible use of the pill the day after failure of the usual contraceptive method or unprotected sex.

The doubts about how it works, when to take it, or the possible side effects makes many women hesitate or feel insecure when it comes to emergency contraception. 27 percent of Spanish women are afraid of having to resort to this type of contraception for not knowing its consequences, however, 55.2 percent affirm that it is their responsibility and their decision whether to take the pill. This data highlights the importance of explaining and informing how this emergency contraceptive method works. We need to raise awareness and break the stigma.

 

Read the full interview here.


 

Women Driving Innovation in Women’s Health

Heather Chalmers, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare Canada

Heather Chalmers, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare Canada, provides a model example of what can be achieved when women are at the forefront of driving innovation in women’s health. 

 

Today, 25 to 46 percent of women do not come back for subsequent mammograms because of a poor experience

 

One of the most recent launches in Canada has been the Pristina™ mammography system. Designed by women for women, and involving 1,200 women in its development process, it has already displayed outstanding impact. It aims at creating an environment in which the anxiety women feel when they undergo a mammogram is reduced, not only to help patient experience but also to help ensure they come back for a subsequent screening. Today, 25 to 46 percent of women do not come back for subsequent mammograms because of a poor experience, and while Canada has a compliance target of 70 percent, not one province meets this target. By helping to solve the comfort issues, we can help support cancer detection rates, and the feedback we have had from women using Pristina™ for screening have been transformational. Moreover, Pristina™ works with a patient-assisted compression device, so that the patient can control the compression. And we are finding that women can press as much if not more than a technologist would, simply because they are in control.

 

Read the full interview here.


 

Advice to the Next Generation

Kanchana TK, director general of the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI)

As a prominent woman in a male-dominated industry, Kanchana TK, director general of the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), the association which represents the interests of research-based pharmaceutical companies in India, has a fearless approach to being heard.

 

Personally, if I want to be heard and believe I have something to contribute, I am not going to back down.

 

The very same advice that I grew up with: that success has no gender. Ever since I was 13, I have always believed that there is nothing that anyone cannot do. Of course, gender discrimination and damaging stereotypes exist; but my advice to all women is to say, “I am not going to let any of that bother me.”

Personally, if I want to be heard and believe I have something to contribute, I am not going to back down.

I would also like to give a message to the women in Pharma. I think that there is a lack of women leaders in this arena. This is something that we need to address globally not just in India. I really don’t see why we shouldn’t have more women in leadership roles.

 

Read the full interview here.

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