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Sandra Marinković, External Affairs Lead, MSD

The Sexes Are Equal, But Not The Same

At MSD, all dimensions of diversity are fundamental to success. This includes gender-inclusive policies and practices, transparency in the presentation of genderrelated metrics, and investment in gender equality in the workplace

Just ten years ago, the representation of women in leadership positions was insignificant, but today women lead many of the world’s foremost pharmaceutical companies. And how that came about, explains our guest from MSD.

In 2020, Bloomberg assessed that according to the global gender equality index, MSD is above the global threshold in four key areas. You must be very proud of those results?

Most MSD employees would tell you that they are truly proud to work for their company.

The reason for this is not only that we are talking about one of the leading pharmaceutical companies, but also because of the organisational culture that nurtures values that are important for the employees – psychological security, freedom of speech, a balance between private and professional life, diversity and inclusion.

At MSD, gender equality is promoted at all levels of the organization, and the many resources and development opportunities are available to all. One of them is the MSD women’s network, which has existed for almost 30 years and deals with the topic of women’s empowerment and development in the business world.

Studies show that women outperform men in 11 of the 12 key competencies of emotional intelligence. Could this be one of the advantages for women in business?

Today, we can proudly say that there is no difference between the sexes when it comes to educational opportunities, that women are equally talented and hardworking as their male counterparts. But when we say that the sexes are equal, it does not mean that they are the same. Emotional intelligence competencies such as emotional self-awareness, empathy, conflict management, adaptability and teamwork are possible on the female side.

Today, there is no difference between the sexes when it comes to educational opportunities. Women are just as talented and hardworking as their male counterparts

And while these characteristics are difficult to measure, they are highly valued and necessary for effective leadership in the workplace. Besides technical skills and knowledge, previous experience and the skills I mentioned will also result in a different approach to work. It is precisely this diversity that encourages creativity and innovation, and is the reason why it is being increasingly emphasised in leading organisations to encourage creativity and promote innovative ideas that push organisations forward.

The number of women in healthcare, including the pharmaceutical industry, is growing. Is it more difficult for them today than before to achieve a balance between their private and professional life?

It is a fact that there are more women in healthcare, and that their opportunities for advancement in healthcare organisations and institutions are increasingly diverse, and that a large percentage report job satisfaction. Women are assuming important roles and positions in health organisations, hospitals and health education institutions. We can safely say that this is also the case in the pharmaceutical industry.

The pace of today’s life, staying longer at work, increased stress and burnout, carry their own risk regardless of gender. That’s why MSD makes additional efforts to listen to the needs of its employees and respond to them with new solutions that allow a greater degree of flexibility. More practices and solutions like this are what I believe we need in the future so that each of us can continue to pursue our ambitions and professional development while at the same time achieving a better balance between career and family life. The solution will not come quickly because changes take time, but I believe that we are on the right track at MSD.

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