President, ISPE Ireland Affiliate
ISPE International Board of Directors
After 37 years in existence ISPE established a Women in Pharma® (WIP) community of practice in 2017. This provides women and young professional in the pharmaceutical industries a forum for connecting and collaborating on technical and career advancement topics.
Why was a community of practice needed ?
OECD figures clearly indicate that, in Ireland, just 14% of graduates from engineering programmes are women, compared to the OECD average of 25%. There are many documented reasons for this, which include a lack of visible female role models; they are many, but they are not profiled or have not had a chance to tell their story.
Mentoring programs, formal and informal, are scarce. There is an absence of peer networks, there is a lack of forums to share technical, operational, and personal experiences and there is poor understanding of career progression and opportunities post-graduation. Adding to this we have unconscious bias, normal aspect of the human state which also can contribute to these statistics.
We have fantastic role models, male and female, in our industry.
How do we address these issues?
The ISPE WIP started with a group of 9 women in November 2017. They came together to share the story of their education, their career paths, and the challenges they faced on that journey. The WIP has grown substantially and is part of an inclusive community, that leverages a network of mentors, role models, and resources across all levels to foster balanced professional success.
The WIP community is embedded into ISPE and promotes women though technical leadership panels, networking events, opportunities for female professionals to participate in conference programs, the development of student chapters and most importantly addressing the issue of mentoring.
Mentoring is fundamental to the WIP community
The benefits of being mentored are fairly clear, but people don’t often think about the great rewards gained by being a mentor. WIP have developed a mentoring circles program that is a fantastic way to connect with roles models, growing relationships and career development for scientists and engineers in the pharmaceutical industry.
The circles are groups of mentors, young professionals, mentees and career professionals that meet about 6 times per year. The group spends time discussing relevant career advancement topics and networking. The discussion topics rotate and are varied, challenging and topical.
Workforce of the future
We have fantastic role models, male and female, in our industry. Through STEM and WIP initiatives we can expand our collaboration, diversity, inclusivity and networking with peers, to deliver lifelong learning and career progression that will help us grow and develop the ‘workforce of the future’