Women in Bio-Technology
From surveys done in the following countries, it can be seen that women are well-represented in Research and Development (R & D) departments of biotechnology firms:
- In Iceland , over half of all biotechnology R&D full-time employees were women (58% or 330.2 women).
- In Norway , In 2003, 1,440 biotechnology researchers worked in the higher education and institute sector; about half of these were women.
- In Spain , Over half of all biotechnology R&D employees employed by the business enterprise sector were women (55% or 1,324 women). 54 % of all researchers working on biotechnology R&D were women (724 FTEs).
Leading Women in Bio-Technology
According to research carried out in 2005 by the search firm of Spencer Stuart, only 64% of biotech boards in the United States have at least one female director, compared to 85% of S&P boards. Only two of the 25 biotech boards surveyed have two or more women directors; of the 18 new directors on biotech boards, only three (17%) are women; the number of female board members as a percentage of the total number of directors is 9% for biotechs and 13% for S&P firms.
The ‘glass ceiling’ has been broken by some female entrepeneurs:
- Susan Desmond-Hellman – President, product development, Genentech. Widely considered the most powerful woman in biotech, Desmond-Hellmann came to Genentech in 1995 after having designed the studies that got Taxol, a breakthrough chemotherapy, approved at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Within a year, Desmond-Hellmann became the company’s chief medical officer.
- Stephanie A. Burns, Chairman, chief executive, Dow Corning: Burns rose through the ranks as a scientist at Dow Corning, becoming chief executive in February 2003. Today she oversees a company whose silicon-based technologies are inside a wide range of products, from baby wipes to highways. Under Burns’ watch, revenues are up 14% last year to $4.4 billion, profits rose 24%. In 2007 Burns joined the board of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline
- 23andMe Inc. USA, Linda Avey, Co-Founder and Co-President
23andMe is a privately held biotechnology company that is developing new ways to help people make sense of their own genetic information. Its mission is to be the world’s trusted source of personal genetic information. 23andMe was co-founded by Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki. Recipient of “Technology Pioneer” award at the World Economic Forum in Davos 2009.
- Prof. Andrea Pfeifer, CEO of AC Immune. Recipient of “Technology Pioneer” at the World Economic Forum in Davos 2009. AC Immune develops innovative therapeutics against Alzheimer’s disease
- OECD, Biotechnology Statistics 2006