A STAT analysis pointed out a lack of gender diversity among company presentations at this week’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. Twenty female CEOs will be presenting corporate updates at the event in San Francisco—fewer than the 22 male presenters named Michael.
In all, men represent 94 percent of the 540 corporate update presenters at the conference. They also represent 77 percent of the speakers for the event’s special sessions, including four of the nine panel discussions featuring no women panelists or moderators.
“As companies get larger and larger, fewer and fewer of the CEOs are women,” said Lisa Suennen, managing director at GE Ventures. “I don’t expect it to change a lot in my lifetime.”
The conference’s organizers aren’t to blame for the lack of diversity, STAT wrote. Instead, the blame would fall on the companies themselves, most of which are mature biopharmaceutical companies with too few women in the C-suite, according to Nina Kjellson, a general partner at the venture capital firm Canaan.
Ancillary conferences surrounding the main J.P. Morgan event have a greater female presence but still skew male overall, like the Biotech Showcase, which has a 67 percent/33 percent split among male and female speakers, and no all-male panels.
“Our attendees don’t want a program that’s like an echo chamber,” said conference organizer Anna Chrisman. “When we include people with different backgrounds, it creates a more meaningful and engaging event.”
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