PRINCETON, NJ – September 15, 2021 – With gender inequality a continued area of focus for corporations and workplaces around the globe, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) is proud to recognize Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., and Merck & Co., Inc., for exemplary workplace initiatives working to close the gender gap in the healthcare and life science industries. The awards will be presented on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, in conjunction with HBA’s virtual Annual Conference.
HBA’s Advancement. Commitment. Engagement. (ACE) Awards recognize companies committed to ensuring that gender diversity and leadership opportunities for women are part of their organizational DNA. An independent panel of healthcare industry leaders selects ACE Award recipients for their excellence in advancing their female talent and removing the systemic barriers preventing timely progress to parity. Award criteria include measurable results, business performance, stewardship, execution, and sustainability.
“Gender equality in healthcare is not a women’s issue, it’s a business imperative. A Catalyst study showed that more women in management positions led to 35 percent more return on equity than firms that lack gender diversity,” said Susan O’Connor, CEO, HBA. “The HBA is proud to celebrate its partnership with these industry-leading, award-winning companies implementing HBA mentoring and career pathway programs to advance women at all levels of their organization.”
Otsuka’s Network of Otsuka Women (NOW) has delivered impressive influence and impact in a short time since it was founded in 2019. Sponsorship by the company’s CEO and CCO, and support from the board, speak to Otsuka’s commitment to including diversity, equity, and inclusion as key imperatives as part of its global business strategy. With a belief that diversity of thought is at the heart of innovation, Otsuka gained insight from employees via focus groups to shape, foster, and create opportunities for women in their workforce. Leveraging collaboration with the HBA, NOW has representation on the internal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council providing insight to help expand the presence of other employee resource groups and the development of a guiding playbook.
In the last two years, the program has grown to over 500 members and represents approximately 25 percent of the Otsuka U.S. workforce. Members of NOW hold a significantly stronger retention rate than the company average, greater promotion rates, and mobility for women has also sharply risen with a 10 percent jump in 2020 to 46 percent. Survey results also offer proof points of the program’s success with 98 percent saying that NOW has positively impacted their career and 75 percent stating involvement in the program has encouraged and empowered them to bid for a project or role of greater responsibility. Otsuka’s efforts have also been recognized as a Great Place to Work®, a Best Workplaces in Healthcare & BioPharma, and as People Magazine’s 2021 Companies that Care list.
With a 26-year history, Merck’s Women’s Network validates the organization’s long-term commitment to diversity and inclusion and demonstrates how integral these values are to achieving better healthcare outcomes for the patients they serve. With 10,000 women participating, there are a variety of initiatives supporting the drive to greater equality including a Gender Equality Council, Mentoring Programs, a Women’s Network European Personal Branding Program, and an Executive Speaker Series. Specific time-bound action plans with targets to increase representation of women and under-represented ethnic groups are built into annual objectives for all leaders and managers and have driven impactful results.
The outcomes of Merck’s various initiatives can be seen in the amount of women in leadership roles across the company: 33 percent of board seats held by women, 36 percent of executive roles held by women, 43 percent of senior management roles filled by women, and 43 percent of management roles held by women helped secure a 2021 ACE Award honor, as well as recognition by Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index, and Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies.
The 2021 ACE Awards honorees will join an elite group of organizations committed to realizing the full potential of their female talent by fostering programs that deliver impactful and measurable results. Throughout the year, the honorees’ programs are showcased across the HBA’s extensive community of healthcare and life science companies and are sought out by their peers for insights. A list of previous ACE awards recipients can be found here.
About the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association
The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) is a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to furthering the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare. With more than 55 locations throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Pan Asia, the HBA serves a community of nearly 70,000 individuals and 170 Corporate Partners. The HBA provides networking forums to build relationships; knowledge sharing and access to thought leaders to broaden perspective; educational programs to develop leadership skills; and high-profile industry recognition of outstanding women and companies to promote visibility of their achievements.