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Female Entrepreneurs are Underrepresented in Biotech

A study conducted by MIT focussed on gender role plays in the field of Biotech. Women in the sciences are equally capable of launching their own companies given the same amount of opportunity.

Sangeeta Bhatia, an author said that researchers looked hard at the data because one of the things that we always hear is that ‘it’s a matter of time. They needed an intervention.The report studied tenure-track, full-time faculty in half of MIT’s 14 science and engineering departments 337 people, 73 of which are women and found a total of 263 companies spurred by MIT faculty. Women accounted for just 9% of 24 companies are all startups.

The study also found that the percentage of men in the study who had founded at least one company is 40%, while just 22% of women have done the same. Susan Hockfield, former MIT president and Pfizer board member said that the narrative isn’t enough women in the space can be squashed. For many years the faculty in the MIT biology department has churned out more women with biology undergraduate degrees than men.

Many studies showed the underrepresentation of women faculty in these activities. The report was funded by a $175,000 grant from the Sloan Foundation in 2019 which looked to establish constant methods and policies for gathering data that can be clarified to other institutions wishing to do the same.

The faculty newsletter included a report of professor Nancy Hopkins, who chaired the first MIT Committee on the Status of Women Faculty in Science in the mid-1990s, and found that only one of 99 people who had been funded to start Biotech companies were women.  After 15 years, in 2011, a woman from Harvard Business School reported to her that another list of 100 scientists received Biotech funding from venture capitalists, and just one more woman had made that list as well. This happened despite 70% of students receiving an undergraduate degree and more than 50% of PhD students being women.

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