iSpeak Blog

The Women in Pharma Steering Committee Discuss Biases for International Women’s Day

Vivien E. Santillan
Tanya Sharma
The Women in Pharma Steering Committee Discuss Biases for International Women’s Day

Every year, the world rallies together on March 8th in support of International Women’s Day. This year, the movement is diving into the importance of creating a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. Below, two members of ISPE’s Women in Pharma Steering Committee share their perspective on biases, and how they navigated these experiences throughout their careers:

Vivien E. Santillan
Regional Director, Asia
Novatek International

Bias can be brought about by different factors such as gender, race or ethnicity, cultural differences, educational background, and also sometimes political views. People also have biases based on where you are working or what company you are engaged with, as well as skills and experience.

Biases and perceptions will always be there, but by loving and embracing ourselves having self-respect and valuing our self-esteem, values, and principles and by continually striving to improve oneself will provide us with the confidence to rise up and #BreakTheBias. We need to be consistent and authentic, true to ourselves which will emanate within us and break through these biases.

I'm an immigrant. A woman of color. An entrepreneur. I am writing this knowing that my opportunities and challenges are not the same struggles as someone in a different environment than me. Recognizing that is important because we cannot promote equality when we don’t understand what to do to help get someone there in their environment. What we can do is to promote a culture and spread awareness to encourage more women to be confident in speaking up, not having to prove why they deserve to be treated equal, instead they should feel empowered that their thoughts are valued no matter what gender, race, and place they are. I'm proud of my team at Assurea – a consulting firm focused on regulatory compliance and data integrity within biotech startups and emerging technologies. We have a diverse team and I have learnt that variation in gender, cultures and experiences brings innovative ideas to light and helps us produce the greatest solutions for serving patients

As we collaborate on innovative solutions such as blockchain based supply chain solutions, there is always a learning curve as it varies case by case, and that is a very vulnerable place to be when inviting people to join a journey that is still being discovered and constantly growing.

When asked about my entrepreneurial story, I often default to my personal goal: to push through and challenge the status quo. I don’t claim to be an expert on everything that comes my way, and there’s power in that. I am open to learning and through my work and volunteer engagements, invite communities to participate in challenges that truly are out of our comfort zones. We seek answers that are unknown and provide a platform that is inclusive and equal. In the spirit of International Women's Day, we hope to encourage more women to #breakthebias and join support groups and organizations that value their growth and provide opportunities.