The slow rise of women in medtech leadership
The gender disparity in medtech leadership is slowly shrinking as companies enlist more women to C-suite roles. That’s the takeaway from this year’s Women in Medtech issue.
While women still make up a small percentage of medtech leadership roles, their numbers are up from 2019. Just 20% of executive roles at the top 100 medical device companies in the world are held by women, and only four companies have a female CEO, according to an analysis of Medical Design & Outsourcing’s annual Big 100. In 2019, 18% of executives were women and only three companies had a woman CEO. Of the 1,037 leadership roles this year, 216 are held by women.
Cardinal Health, Stryker, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic and Baxter were recently named as some of the 300 best companies for women to work for by Forbes. Women hold 30% of executive roles at those companies, an above-average percentage for the industry as a whole.
Many of the world’s top companies have hired executives for diversity and inclusion leadership roles. In 2019, medtech trade group AdvaMed announced an initiative called AdvaMed Advance to convene industry leaders and support the creation and expansion of inclusion and diversity roles in the medtech industry.
“I have been in this industry for 30 years. The pace of change in this area has been too slow. There are significant grassroots efforts supported by large companies where employees are mobilizing around diversity,” Maria Sainz, president & CEO of Aegea Medical, told Medical Design & Outsourcing.
In this annual edition of Women in Medtech, we will hear from Medtronic’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer, Dr. Sally Saba. Since Saba’s appointment in March, the Medtronic Foundation announced a $16 million commitment to partnership with organizations that are working to bring social justice and equity while improving the lives of Black Americans following the death of George Floyd in Medtronic’s home city of Minneapolis.
The diversity issue expands beyond medtech. A higher percentage of female-founded startups across a number of industries are attracting funding in areas such as New York, Los Angeles and Boston than in the technology hub of California’s Bay Area, according to a Pitchbook Data and All Raise report. In 2019, 11.2% of venture capital deals were with fi rms led by women. In pharma and biotech, 14.7% of VC deals were with women-led companies.
“The more we tell the story of how companies are benefiting from this work and innovation and really winning in the market because of their focus on this, I think the more people will come along and understand the importance of it,” Saba told MDO.
This issue will also highlight some of the innovations happening in the medical device industry, such as Checkable Medical’s at-home strep tests, Noleus Technologies’ device to reduce recovery times after abdominal surgery and BioAfffinity’s lung cancer detection tech. Women leaders at some of the world’s biggest medtech companies also offer their input on robotic surgery and 3D printing.
As Sainz said in our “Diversity by the numbers” article, “The attention and priority of this topic has been clearly raised. Besides individual company programs, efforts across the industry such as Medtech Women, DxD or those driven/endorsed by Advamed, MDMA give me hope that pace of change is accelerating. The case for diversity is compelling as a competitive advantage for talent and in the healthcare market place.”
Medical Design & Outsourcing