Women in Pharma Presents “Implicit Bias – Actions for Change”
- Posted by Katherine Leitch
- On November 23, 2020
Thank you to all who attended our Women in Pharma virtual educational event on October 28, 2020 as part of the Boston Area Chapter Fall Educational Summit. We were honored to have guest speaker Joanne Kamens PhD, Executive Director of Addgene, present on the important topic of “Implicit Bias – Actions for Change.”
Dr. Kamens has been presenting on the topic of implicit bias for several years and the topic has become even more important due to recent events. The concept of implicit bias arose as a way to explain why discrimination in all forms persists, even though extensive research clearly shows that people generally feel that they oppose discrimination. Dr. Kamens explained that humans have a natural biological response to perceived threats in order to prepare for a fight or flight reaction. Implicit bias is the unconscious perception of a threat from people with differences from us and/or an unconscious preference for people who historically have been seen as leaders.
Dr. Kamens shared the results and data from multiple studies that have shown that implicit bias impacts hiring and promotion opportunities in the workplace, including in the biotech industry. Without exception, all of us are prone to implicit bias and the first important step is to recognize this fact and then to actively work to eliminate our own implicit biases. Actions we can take to minimize the impact of implicit bias can include looking beyond our immediate network when filling an open position and ensuring that a diverse candidate slate is selected for consideration and interviews. Another way would be to review resumes without viewing the candidate’s name as studies have shown that, even with identical resume content, implicit bias against candidates with female names resulted in candidates with male names being perceived as stronger.
The key takeaway from this provocative and educational talk is to recognize and acknowledge our own implicit bias and act to minimize its effect on our decisions. Many thanks to Dr. Kamens for sharing her research and insights on ways we can minimize implicit bias.
At the end of the event we also shared with attendees that the Boston Area Chapter’s peer mentoring circle program called Professional Moais is available. Moai (pronounced mo-ai) means “meeting for a common purpose” in Japanese. In Japan, moais are small social network groups formed to provide mutual support. The moai concept is a great fit for what many Chapter members have said they looking for: a deeper and personal professional network. And now more than ever we can use one another’s support professionally. With meet ups currently virtual, moais provide lots of flexibility so feel free to sign up – all ISPE members are welcome to join. You can fill in the intake form on the Boston Women in Pharma page: https://www.ispeboston.org/women-in-pharma-intake-form/
And just in time for holiday shopping please visit the Women in Pharma merchandise store at https://www.bonfire.com/store/the-ispe-wip-store/ All proceeds will go to the ISPE Foundation for international Women in Pharma® initiatives. These items will only be offered for a limited time.
The next Boston Area Chapter Women in Pharma group event is scheduled for January 28, 2021 and is a virtual cooking class with a chef in Italy. This will be a great way to fight off the winter blues and join in a fun and social virtual event. Spaces will be limited so be sure to sign up early once registration opens. Until we see you in January, have a wonderful holiday season!