According to the Center for American Progress, women account for 47% of the country’s labor force and 52% of all professional-level jobs. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that just 20% of U.S. high-tech executives, senior officers and management are women, including pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing and medical equipment & supplies manufacturing. If we break it down further, to race and ethnic diversity, the divide is even more stark: 83.31% are white, 10.55% are Asian-American, 3.11% are Hispanic and just 1.92% are black.
“We have aspirational goals that we established. If we want to talk about just metrics for a minute, it’s very difficult to get credibility in these spaces without actually measuring what you’re doing. Talking about inclusion is critical, but representation matters,” Sophia Khan, senior director global inclusion and diversity at Medtronic, said during DeviceTalks Minnesota last June.
Khan also acknowledged that the problem is complicated: “It’s not an ‘us versus them,’ and when we talk about inclusion, everybody’s diverse. Everybody has an element of diversity.”
I spoke with a number of women leaders in the medical device industry. Their humility stuck out to me. Some told me that they worked with great teams; they didn’t want to make it about women empowerment.
Here are some other insights I learned from them:
- Mentorships. It’s important to forge mentorships early in your working life. Having someone in the industry to guide and advise is a big help in advancing your career.
- Networking. Most of the medtech executives I’ve spoken to say that networking at industry events is key.
- Give yourself more credit. This is important advice for everyone, but perhaps especially so for women, who sometimes back away from opportunities because we feel we won’t be heard or taken seriously.
- Be passionate about what you’re doing. Your enthusiasm will shine through.
Read more about some of the expertise women leaders are providing to the medical device industry.