Updated on 25 March 2013
The survey says while India's enabling policy environment, which has been in place for many years, is very positive, implementation and funding needs to increase substantially before women can equally benefit from the innovation advantage. It also states that although female enrollments in bio and health sciences in India are very high, at 80 percent, number of women at the top-level position is very low in the bioscience field.
BioSpectrum Asia survey, which focuses on the perception of gender parity in the industry, reveals that fewer than 20 percent respondents feel growth opportunities favor men more than women in their companies. Also, 86 percent believe that their companies treat men and women equally in terms of equal pay and benefits in line with qualifications and experience. However, 34 percent of the respondents admit to having faced stunted career growth or heard about cases where women have suffered the same despite having the same qualifications and experience as their male peers.
Among the examples cited for gender discrimination in the field were male bosses bullying young female colleagues; discriminatory application of rules; qualified candidate not selected in the final interview as the company did not have creche facility and did not want to add one; and women employees being treated as eye candy. Some of the respondents even said women are considered more stable as they do not demand salary hikes because income for them is more like an additive once they are married.
One of the female respondents also recalled that she was not allowed to be the first author on an important discovery, even though it was her idea. "I was told that I was a female and would leave and have children," she said. Meanwhile, over 92 percent of the respondents said the HR policies in their respective organizations were gender neutral.
Among the perks counted for females at workplace in the industry were maternal leave (for about 3 months), which some said was not sufficient, childcare benefits, flexible work timings, protection from harrassment, special holiday for nursing baby, drop facility if working late, special medical coverage for new moms and hotline for reporting gender bias. Preference for a particular gender is sometimes shown while hiring for certain job roles, felt 21 percent of the respondents. Such jobs were listed as clerical work, jobs that require a lot of traveling, receptionist, human resource executives, roles inside bioanalytical labs, assistants and manufacturing.