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24 Feb 2023

Women in Pharma – Sukhada Chaturvedi Pharmapack 2023

This year at Pharmapack 2023, we interviewed several leading women in the pharmaceutical industry about what it means to be a woman working in pharma. In the lead-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, 2023, CPHI Online is proud to highlight the women taking strides to make the industry a more inclusive and diverse workforce, and by extension an equal opportunity healthcare landscape. 

We caught up with Sukhada Chaturvedi, International Account Manager at Körber, to discuss her journey through the pharmaceutical industry as a woman in STEM, and the challenges as well as strategies for creating an equal healthcare landscape. 

Innovation requires diversity of gender and beyond 

The female workforce, as Chaturvedi stated, faces more challenges than the male workforce in the pharmaceutical industry. Speaking from experience, Chaturvedi described having less opportunities available for women in the pharmaceutical workforce, especially in terms of divisions such as mechanics or sales. Female representation within the pharma industry should start at recruitment and the implementation of training to achieve and increase diversity within the team, she claimed.  

Chaturvedi also extended the idea of diversity to other aspects of the human experience. Diversity of age, race, and background along with diversity of gender will naturally lead to a diversity of opinion – a necessary component for the pharmaceutical industry to innovate and push the future of healthcare forward. With women constituting 50% of the human population, Chaturvedi described how women bring forth 50% of new ideas and opinions to the pharmaceutical industry. “We bring more innovation, our experiences, our empath... Everything that we do in pharma is for the patients. The empathy part comes very naturally to women and I believe [bringing] that perspective would contribute a lot of changes in pharma,” Chaturvedi explained. 

The future of pharma is female 

“This should actually not be a topic of discussion because diversity should be the norm,” Chaturvedi proclaimed, but she remained aware that the pharmaceutical industry is still taking ‘baby steps’ to achieving true diversity and equality.  

For women looking to start a career in pharmaceuticals or even for women currently working in one of the many pharmaceutical sectors, Chaturvedi encouraged all to set their sights on their goals: “I believe there is no stopping for women of any colour. Just take your passion with you, take everything else with a pinch of salt, and go for your goal.” She emphasised the importance of working together and in solidarity to strive towards individual goals – no one woman can do it alone.  

She also encouraged everyone in the pharmaceutical industry, men and women of any department and position, to continue these discussions regarding gender equality. From female CEOs and managing directors to contractors to manufacturers, Chaturvedi believes that the pharma industry is still taking baby steps towards the big leap, part of which will be continuing the discussion: “I believe in the future, we will have [total gender equality] as a norm.” 

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