The program launched a year after WiLD was established on September, 18, 2022 with an international launch held in January this year (2023) and the initiative is supported by Novo Nordisk and The Lundbeck Foundation.
It aims to inspire women in the Danish life science sector to reach for higher leadership roles by promoting and showcasing female talent, by professional knowledge sharing and networking.
Rated low in 102nd place regarding women in upper management layers, according to the World Economic Forum Gender Gap report 2023, Denmark is still considered to have a gender equality paradox despite the education and employment rates for women being among the highest in the world.
Moreover, despite the majority of employees in the Danish Life Science industry being women (53%) only 20% of board and senior leadership positions are occupied by women. A key focus area of WiLD is to address the significant barriers that hinder women’s professional growth and advancement.
A network of 200 members has formed over the last 12 months made up of influential women in senior positions keen to share knowledge and insight with others. The mentoring program will focus on women who have recently been promoted or those aiming for higher positions of leadership. WiLD network says this is a milestone achievement.
Lene Gerlach, co-founder and chairperson of WiLD said: “The launch of the Female Leadership Mentoring Program is a pivotal achievement for the WiLD network as we celebrate our first anniversary.
“The program will support and inspire the next generation of talented women in the life science sector to further advance their career, boosting the number of women in leadership positions and improving gender equality. As we continue to grow and expand, I am most delighted to welcome Henriette Dræbye Rosenquist, Gitte Lillelund Bech and Vibeke Bendix Didriksen to the board as we continue our focus on equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for females across life sciences.”
The program will support female talent development at crucial career transition points and will include workshops, self-reflection and tailored one-on-one mentoring. Experienced members of the WiLD network with extensive leadership experience will work as mentors to support each mentee. The WiLD Female Leadership Mentoring Program is supported by a generous grant from The Lundbeck Foundation.
WiLD has also expanded the board of directors with three new members - Henriette Dræbye Rosenquist, former president and managing director of Pfizer France, now board member of Gubra; Gitte Lillelund Bech, former Minister of Defence, former member of the Danish Parliament, and former director of life science in the Danish Chamber of Commerce, now board member in the organisation Financial Stability and CEO in LillelundBech ApS and Vibeke Bendix Didriksen vice president and global head of DE&I, Genmab.
WiLD says new board members will be instrumental as the network continues its next phase of growth, which will include influencing the political agenda and collaborating with Danish life science companies and organisations regarding the DE&I agenda to improve gender equality in top management and specialist positions.
In addition, WiLD says it is creating an ambassador role for supporting men and women to reflect WiLD’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment across life sciences. To find out more and apply to become a member of the WiLD network, or an ambassador, please click here for further details.
Lene Skole, chief executive officer at The Lundbeck Foundation said: “Talent development and diversity are high on the Lundbeck Foundation's agenda as they are a prerequisite for Denmark to be a leading life science nation.
“We need to ensure a strong pipeline of talented women within life sciences, who want to pursue a career at higher leadership levels, both in the industry and at universities. We know from experience that this does not happen overnight, which is why we support an important initiative like WILD's Female Leadership Mentoring Program.”