Leadership in Pharmaceutical Companies: Where Are the Women?

As I read Jezebel’s piece on evil birth control manufacturers, I found myself wondering who exactly is running these malicious pharmaceutical companies? Is it, as I see it in my head, a bunch of old pasty men—not a vagina in sight?

I had a feeling I knew the answer, but figured I’d find out for sure.


Feast your eyes on the sausage fest that is Bayer’s Executive Committee: 12 out of the 13 members are men.


Good ol’ Pfizer does a little better—having a whole three women on their 13-member Executive Leadership Team. (Don’t worry, though. Their board also has a whopping three women.)

Johnson & Johnson

Keeping with the rule of threes, Johnson & Johnson’s board is 33.33% women.


Another trio of ladies sits on Merck’s board—but they account only for 5.6% of this 17-member team. (Their Executive Committee doesn’t make up for it.)

Warner Chilcott

Jezebel couldn’t find too much evidence of evil here. And there are no women to be found on their board. (Got the magic three on their Leadership Team, though.)

So what does this mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe pharmaceutical companies will inevitably be evil no matter what gender leads them. Maybe the lack of ovaries on their board of directors does make them more likely to fail at women’s health.

I know not. But c’mon, folks…it certainly couldn’t hurt to get a few more women leading your companies.

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  • anonymous99



    You might want to consider the number of women on these boards roughly reflect the number who actually put in the time and effort, and want to be there.  You could really run this same piece regarding sanitation workers and get an even more outrageously mysogynistic result.  For a woman to get on these boards they would likely need to major in chemistry, probably attend business school, and avoid the so-called “mommy track”.  Women tend to not follow the right path to ever be considered for such a position.  


    I can appreciate the tone of your piece of however.  Do I think this is a problem?  Absolutely.  The question is, what do we do about it?  Just hoping you’ll consider this is more complicated than “no girls allowed”.