Born and raised in cities throughout North India, 28-year-old Prakriti Langer arrived in Australia five years ago to pursue a Masters in Biotechnology. After graduating, “I knew I wanted to gain global exposure. I chose Australia, which is a thriving hub for life sciences.” Prakriti has now been with Specialised Therapeutics for almost three years, building her careers in roles across the medical team. In this piece to mark International Women’s Day, she explains how her culture has shaped her career and why the future is so bright for young women in science.
“Growing up in India, women were revered. I grew up reading comic books featuring Hindu goddesses who were warrior women. Subconsciously, this made me realise that women could do and be anything.
I have a twin sister and we do not have brothers. I really think my Mum was a trailblazer for us. She was an economics major who became a teacher. I call her a ‘wonder-mum’ because she is good at everything and has encouraged my sister and I to fight against societal norms and in particular, any gender inequality.
In the early nineties in India, there was a perception that having sons was favorable. But being brought up in a predominantly female family, there was never any inkling that men were superior – in fact, it was quite the opposite. My Dad has always been an advocate for women. He was more vocal and encouraged self-respect and for us to stand up against any injustice. Both parents also strongly encouraged the best education, knowing this was the path to a secure future. In a country like India and everywhere really, education brings respect and self-awareness.
I am very grateful to have chosen pharma as a career. It is not only intellectually rewarding but I feel very lucky that my first real career steps have been taken in a place where I am surrounded by inspiring women leaders.
I am aware not everybody has the same experiences.
As a community we have come a long way within the last decade, in terms of recognising gender inequities and introducing legislations and regulations to address imbalance. However, I am aware this is a work in progress and problems of gender pay gaps, hiring prejudice- inequality and lack of diversity still exist, with some people more impacted than others.
Throughout the six years of me pursuing higher education I have noticed the gender ratio in my classes move to become more female dominated, which has been so refreshing and positive.
For young women foreseeing a future in science, I would say there is no better time. Inspiration and opportunity are all around and all we need to do is have courage and immerse ourselves in it. The era is here, we are surrounded by women who are CEOs, start-up partners, young leaders, medical directors, KOLs, scientists and entrepreneurs. I am hopeful there will be more progress and that is all I wish for this International Women’s Day!