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News & Trends - Biotechnology

Women in Life Sciences celebration inspires more than 440 leaders

Health Industry Hub | March 9, 2020 |

Biotech News: AusBiotech and Medicines Australia collaborated to host more than 440 guests at the annual Women in Life Sciences Luncheon on 6 March 2020, in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Co-hosted by Lorraine Chiroiu, CEO, AusBiotech, and Elizabeth de Somer, CEO, Medicines Australia, the luncheon aimed to encourage, support and further develop women in the sector.

The issue of women’s equality is not new, and the approach to addressing it needs to continue to evolve. This year’s theme, inspire, influence, involve, conveyed a movement that is beyond gender, and increasing the number of female leaders in senior positions in life sciences is a conversation everyone should be participating in.

Kirsten O’Doherty, former ANZ General Manager, AbbVie, opened the luncheon as the keynote speaker. “We have come a long way in the past 30 years but we still have a long way to go. The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap report for 2020 shows Australia is ranked 44th in the world in gender parity. (New Zealand is ranked 6th).” She encouraged women to step out of their comfort zones and push boundaries, be kind to oneself in the face of setbacks, and be loud in calling out poor performance in gender equity.

Ms Lorraine Chiroiu, CEO AusBiotech, said “It is an exciting time in history. Standing on the shoulders of inspirational leaders, the world now expects gender balance and notices its absence. We collectively need to work towards a gender equal world.”

Ms Elizabeth de Somer, CEO of Medicines Australia said: “The Pharmaceutical industry is committed to creating an environment that empowers and enables women to reach the highest levels – this is reflected in the composition of female talent at senior management within our sector. Although there is good work being done, gender inequality remains, and we must continue to address it.”

Six distinguished panellists shared how they have inspired, influenced, and involved others in their push for progress. Resilience, perseverance and self-confidence were key to each panellist’s individual story in reaching their aspirations and inspiring others in their journey.

The panellists included:

  • Manuri Gunawardena, Founder and CEO – HealthMatch, Forbes 30 under 30 Class of 2019: Featured Honouree in Healthcare and Sciences
  • Dr Dharmica Mistry, Co-founder and Scientific Advisor, BCAL Diagnostics/MedTech Program Manager, Cicada Innovations
  • Associate Professor Muireann Irish, ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor of Psychology, School of Psychology and Brain & Mind Centre, The University of Sydney
  • Dr Sarah McDonald, CEO, Baymatob Operations Pty Ltd
  • Julie Phillips,CEO and Executive Director, BioDiem Ltd
  • Michael Azrak, Vice President and Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, MSD

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