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As Liftstream aims to tackle the implicit challenge of progressing women up the career ladder to the C-suite and board, understanding the functions in which they work is important in determining why they might not be scaling the ranks towards the top.

In our study of Massachusetts Biotech Cluster published with MassBio we found that manufacturing, a function quite often cited as being male-dominated, proportionally had 6% men working in it, and only 2% women. Men also were proportionally better represented in engineering, IT, sales, development, finance, marketing and business development. Women, on the other hand, were proportionally better represented in research, legal, human resources, admin, PR, and operations. Finally, we found that 4 times as many men as women occupied positions in the Executive Committee (8% men vs 2% women).

These subtle differences may suggest that the career pathways women are taking are, in aggregate, less likely to guide them towards the position of CEO, therefore closing off the most obvious path to the boardroom. If one aim is to introduce more women into the CEO position, then their functional experience must be contributing to this. We need to encourage women to participate in functions where they have not traditionally done so in large numbers. To do so, companies should seek to implement balanced recruitment and promotion measures for all functions, intentionally making all functions more diverse and therefore more attractive to women and men. Equally this means that functions with disproportionately high numbers of women working in them should balance these functions with more male employees.

Liftstream uses evidence to shape the future workplace of life sciences companies. #ElevateMyBio

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