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Celebrating Women in Leadership

3 August, 2021

Celebrating Women in Leadership | Advant Medical

We all know that women can be –and are – great leaders. That’s why we’re not just saying we promote gender equality, we’re proving it.

In 2015, the 193 member countries of the United Nations came together to commit to 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 5 focused on gender equality and set the ambitious target of achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls everywhere by 2030. Just six years later, large gender gaps remain across the world, and the evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a regressive effect on gender equality.

Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on August 26 every year to honour the hard-fought victory of the women’s suffrage movement. Women’s Equality Day has been designed to commemorate the 19th Amendment being adopted in the 1920s in the United States. This act stopped the federal government and states from preventing people from the right to vote based on their sex. Women may have come a long way, but there’s still work to be done. We must keep working to make sure that future generations have a seat at the table.

Here at Advant Medical we are dedicated to gender equality. We know that gender equality should not just be viewed as a “women’s issue”. It is everyone’s battle, and it is critically important that men understand that this includes them. We want to take time to promote some of the women in leadership positions within our company as a visible role model to young women thinking of careers in the STEM industries. Every Wednesday this month we will be posting interviews from some of the women in senior positions in Advant Medical to talk about their personal experience of working in the MedTech Industry.

What are some of the challenges facing women in the modern workplace?

Let’s face it. Women make the world go around, literally. Yet despite juggling all of life’s crazy demands women, in general, are still treated as “less than” in the workforce. Here are three challenges facing women in the workplace today.

1. Automation

Traditionally there have been very few women in the STEM fields when compared with the number of men. However, the introduction of automation may just help this. Women whose jobs are replaced by machines and will likely need to make job transitions is roughly the same as for men: up to one in four over the next decade. According to MGI research roughly 40 million to 160 million women may face a need to transition across occupations and skill sets by 2030 to remain employed. If women make these transitions, they could find more productive, better-paid work; but if they don’t, they could face a growing wage gap or leave the labor market altogether.

2. Covid-19

According to research carried out by McKinsey, women’s jobs globally are 1.8 time more vulnerable during the pandemic as men’s jobs. A CNN report found that in the month of December 2020 the US economy lost 140,000 jobs. All of these were women. Economists warn against over analyzing a single month, however, it highlights the fact that women are being faced with a greater threat to their jobs than men. A factor for this is because during the pandemic, unpaid care work such as childcare fell to women as nurseries, pre-schools and schools were forced to close. For example, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the United States around one in five (19.6%) of working-age adults said the reason they were not working was because COVID-19 disrupted their childcare arrangements. This study also found that adults aged between 25-44, about one in three (32.1%) women are not working because of childcare, compared to 12.1% of men in the same age group.

3. Visibility

Despite being more educated than men and constituting nearly half of the workforce, women are promoted at work far less often than men. We know this because women account for just 7.8 percent of CEO’s in the S&P 500. This number has seen an increase since December 2019, when women held 30 (6%) of CEO positions, and the Women Business Collaborative said in a report “we expect women CEO’s to constitute 15% of CEOs of Fortune 500 and S&P roles by 2025”. One reason cited for why more women aren’t moving into higher-up executive-type roles is the lack of female role models in the workplace. says that not having a visible role model can make women feel as if moving into a leadership-type role is simply unattainable.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the challenges facing women in their battle for equality, let’s look at leadership and how women compare in leadership positions.

What is a leadership position?

Leadership generally refers to a person’s ability to influence and motivate others to achieve set goals or objectives that can positively impact the growth and development of a business. A leadership role is a position that requires you to manage people, situations, and items effectively and ethically. Leadership roles can be both formal and informal, but every aspect and type of leadership within an organization functions to shape and guide the organization. Types of job roles that would be seen as a leadership position are plant manager, business manager or executive director.

What is a manager and how many are women?

A manager is an individual that supervises both activities and people within a given organization and is an example of a leadership position. Managers are often leaders of small groups of people and are tasked with organizing, motivating, and guiding others to achieve goals. A manager can be a formal role but if you have ever worked in a capacity where you helped to organize or lead a team using your communication, problem-solving, and evaluation skills then you have held a leadership role as a manager. Managers are familiar with the inner workings of an organization and may be required to facilitate in the training of new and existing group members within an organization. According to information published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, women account for just over 40% of managers in Ireland and 37% in the European Union. The European Union percentage is reflected in the global research by Mercer that found that women make up 37% of managers worldwide.

Is this statistic reflected in the MedTech sector?

According to an analysis performed by Medical Design and Outsourcing, published in October 2020, of the 1,037 leadership positions in the world’s biggest Medtech companies, 216 or an average of  19%  are held by women and just over a dozen of the companies listed no women in executive roles.

How does the Advant team compare?

After reviewing the information we decided to look at our own management team. Our senior management team is made up of 60% women. Significantly higher than Irish, European and worldwide percentages. We are delighted to take this opportunity to share with you their stories, to promote women in the workplace and hopefully these women can act as role models to young women looking for a career in the STEM industries.

In this series we will be talking to:

Debra O’Loughlin – Managing Director

Ammie Flaherty – HR Manager

Bernice Crowley – Supply Chain Manager

Denise Torres – Plant Manager Costa Rica

Stay tuned on our social media where we will be posting the links to the articles.

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