Stephany Silldorff, DNP, FNP
MSL III, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals
In your opinion, how can the maternal wall affect a woman in the MSL profession?
Women in the MSL profession are advanced educated professionals seen as scientific experts in the field of pharmaceuticals. The profession can be challenging at times with busy schedules, travel, meetings and multiple responsibilities. These challenges may make the idea of becoming a working mother seem overwhelming. The transition to motherhood can be one of the greatest joys in one’s life. With that joy may come additional feelings of uncertainty and concerns when returning to work or re-entering the workforce. Maternal stereotyping may trigger assumptions that women are less proficient, less valuable to the organization and not as committed to their role. The image of a mother with caregiving responsibilities may conflict with the image of an “ideal worker”. Gender stereotypes often portray men as strong, ambitious leaders while women are seen as warm and nurturing. When women act in ways that don’t match those biases they are often less accepted. The more we understand this bias and maternal wall, the better we can address and overcome it.
What are 2 ways to overcome the gender bias that exists towards women in the MSL arena?
Overcoming gender bias is multifaceted with deep historical roots. First, it is important to voice your commitment to your role and your career and to work closely with your manager to discuss short and long-term career goals. We also may need to adjust the way we communicate to reflect this commitment. Second, look to your mentors and senior female leaders within the company that have families, they can use their authority to encourage and demonstrate work-life balance. It is also important to see what resources your workplace offers. Many offer pro-parenting groups to foster a sense of community, provide information and support working parents.
Why is this topic important to you and what changes do you hope to see in the future for women in the MSL profession?
This topic is important to me as a woman and as a working mom. I grew up with a hard-working, single mother who worked while pursuing her degree. She was the first person in my family to attend college. She inspired me to follow my dreams and not to let my gender or anything hold me back. I hope to educate other women about their important value to an organization whether they are a mother or not and to encourage them to be advocates for themselves and the MSL profession. “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead