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Career Pathing in the Life Sciences Workplace Dynamics and the Gender Gap

I was so proud to have been included as a speaker at the 2020 Life Science Women's Conference. My talk was on Career Pathing for the Life Sciences.

Check out the Life Science Leader Article "Women Shaping The Life Sciences Industry In Tampa".


Excerpts from the article highlight the need to Close the Gender Gap in the Life Sciences that is often attributed to Workplace Dynamics.

In “Why and How to Close the Gender Gap in the Life Sciences” (see September 2018 issue), leadership statistics from MassBio and executive recruiting firm Liftstream indicated that women account for just 24 percent of C-suite positions and about 14 percent of board-level positions within the industry in 2018.

This is despite both genders entering the life sciences in equal proportions. Additionally, according to research published by PNAS on Feb. 18, 2020, there lies a 27 percent gender gap in productivity between men and women scientists who are published during their careers. This is accompanied by a 19.5 percent higher risk in women leaving academia — a rate which persists throughout scientific careers not limited to junior researchers. Why is this? What’s the cause? And is the common denominator internalized bias?


Many of the unique hurdles women face lie in bias within the workplace. Women, who may already lack effective mentors due to affinity bias, suffer from stereotypically gendered values, behavioral styles, and norms perpetuated in their work environments.

“Often, work experiences impact the decision to leave,” shared Dr. Leigh Holcomb, career transition coach, “including a feeling of isolation, hostile work environments, and a lack of supportive sponsors.”

Additionally, Holcomb recommended that women in the life sciences create a “stop-doing” list, outlining boundaries in order to avoid being taken advantage of. “Stop saying, ‘I’ll take anything,’” she suggests. “Stop underestimating your worth, wasting your time with ineffective strategies, and ignoring the resources available.” Most important, she emphasized, is the necessity in asking for help. Women must look to each other for support.

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