Two women in the biopharma world have written an open letter to their field, asking execs please not to work with companies that use scantily-clad models to liven up their cocktail parties. “We can’t believe it’s 2016 and we have to spend our time writing this letter,” it begins.
The specific catalyst for this letter was a party thrown recently during the important J.P. Morgan healthcare conference by the firm LifeSci Advisors, which decided a good way to even out the gender disparity was to invite models. Stat reports this did not go over well with biotech/pharmaceutical industry pros Kate Bingham, a VC, and Karen Bernstein, who’s with the news site BioCentury. It’s not just about the one party, they write:
This isn’t the first time backward looking firms in the securities industry have put women on show for the titillation of their predominantly male clientele. Those events are common knowledge and some are widely shared, if not celebrated, on the internet.
In fact, the official video of the 27th Annual ROTH Conference proudly flaunts its use of scantily clad female dancers, who appear alongside cool male rock stars and skateboarders, and images of professionally dressed businessmen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_Xvl…
Really people? REALLY??? Are we still working with people who think of women as chattel?
What compelling business rationale could there possibly be for that kind of entertainment?
They add: “It doesn’t matter who, or what kind of company, organized these events. If biotech executives attend, they endorse them. That reflects not only on them as individuals, but on us as an industry.”
“We don’t need to give a full prescription of what every company needs to do. But a good place to start is by not hiring models,” they conclude. Doesn’t really seem like so much to ask!
Bingham told Stat that the letter has been signed by hundreds of people, maybe because they don’t want their field to become a dude-bro punchline like some corners of the technology industry we could name.
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