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Women in the Workplace

One of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffett, tells a story of his two sisters, who he explains were as intelligent as he was and equally driven but denied the opportunities that made him a wealthy man. He pointed out, “If I’d been a female, my life would have been entirely different’. And how right he was about winning the “ovarian lottery”. According to the World Bank, women in all countries face earnings gaps. If women could have the same lifetime earnings as men, global wealth could increase by $172 trillion and human capital wealth could increase by about one fifth globally1.

The truth is however, particularly in developing countries such as South Africa, gender disparity is still very real. According to a Public Services Association report although South Africa’s democracy is 26 years old, the country still has a long way to go to redressing discrimination and historical imbalances2. Achieving equitable representation of women in the workplace, and their effective participation at the top echelons of organisations (civic, private sector, and public sector) is the right thing to do, the report states2.

It is time to go beyond ensuring equal access to recognising and elevating women as agents of economic growth, stability and sustainability, and for men to work with women to accelerate progress toward gender equality. Cipla acknowledges women.

Women in STEM

Despite the critical role of STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in driving innovation and progress, alarmingly, only 13% of South African graduates with STEM qualifications are women. At Cipla, we are committed to investing in and elevating the impact of trailblazing women in STEM fields.

You Inspire Me Campaign

Director, Quality Operations

Farzanah Moola

I grew up in a small town, surrounded by a family of healthcare workers. I loved hearing the interesting stories and anecdotes that my elders shared with me and realised what a privilege it is to be able to make a difference in peoples’ lives. I was inspired and encouraged to pursue a future in pharmacy and felt the world open up as I stepped out of university. At the conclusion of every workday at Cipla, I am in awe of the millions of lives across the globe that each and everyone of us touches through our individual and collective efforts. I thank God for my small role in this honour and privilege.

Women are powerfully selfless. Investing in a girl has social and economic returns that go beyond her, extending not only to her family and future children, but also to her community. We must harness, guide, mentor and strengthen our young girls to find their strengths and help them navigate the hurdles along the way. My message to young girls is to remember that they will be the scientists and leaders of the future. The very present and very future of the planet could be in their hands. Success comes with patience, commitment, dedication, passion and hard work. As a woman, we do sometimes have to work much harder and certainly much smarter, but know that as a woman our success and our strength makes a difference to a legion of lives!

Director, Business Information And Technology

Genevieve Mannel

Growing up, I cannot remember seeing or hearing of any female IT Professionals in my community or family. “Computer work” was for boys.

I remember my first job at 19, I was working on those green terminal computers, trying to merge customer information of two companies after a merger acquisition. I found it fascinating that the two sets of data became one customer record. I documented details such as how many collective customers we had, their age ranges, locations and gender. Little did I know that this is what we would now call “customer segmentation”. This project started my love affair with data.

Since then my desire to expose more young girls to tech or the STEM field, a lot earlier than their secondary or tertiary education, has been a driving force. The change needs to take place way before the neural pathways have been formed and for that to happen, the introduction has to take place during toddler/pre-school age. Our education systems have to change to include practical application and design/systems thinking, which would encourage our kids to broaden their thinking patterns and allow the transition from tertiary education into the professional arena to be less of a leap.

Vice President, Head Of Regulatory Affairs

Praba Thandrind

I recall as a young girl of 14 years being asked by my Guidance teacher if I had decided which career I would pursue. It was a scary life altering decision for a 14-year-old to contemplate.

I knew that I would pursue my studies and that it would be in the science field. It was an interaction with my family pharmacist that helped me decide which science field I would pursue. Watching him provide guidance to my dad on various health matters left an impression and is still one of my clearest memories of what made me pursue Pharmacy as a career.

Though it’s been many years since I wore a white coat and dispensed medicine, my pharmacy degree has taken me further than I could have imagined as a young 14-year-old girl.

A career in the sciences is limitless. I would encourage young girls and ladies to pursue a career in the sciences because of the direct and meaningful impact it has on your life and those you serve through your work.

There are very few careers that provide and require compassion and passion in equal measure like the Medical Sciences do; I have enjoyed all the challenges and opportunities it has blessed me with.

We have the odds stacked up against us as women even before we realise it. But I truly believe the world is our oyster no matter what race, sex or creed we may be. We have a God-given right to be and to achieve our purpose, so go out and do your best ladies. The world of science and its wonders awaits you.

Senior Manager, RA Systems And Processes

Vanita Maharaj

I grew up observing and admiring my father, who is a medical doctor. His work ethic and passion for his patients showed me the need for science and required care in this world. I found interest in human science and medicine, which spurred on my interest in determining how healthcare and innovative medicine can be provided to individuals equally.

My advise to other women is to be conscious of your decisions and engagements in life, as your advice, guidance, and inspiration can be transferred to others unknowingly. Advocate to continuously learn within and outside the field so that your mark is magnified through helping others. Challenge the status quo respectfully in a manner that aims to promote equality. Change is inevitable and spearheading that narrative will give others the confidence to chase towards a fair and equitable environment.

Science has many opportunities, gain the experience in all facets to identify the gaps which you can fill that will be to the betterment of your community. Follow your passion and don’t be influenced by aspects that can deter you. And most importantly find a mentor who will allow you to fly. Read, learn, change.

Graduate Programme

Olwethu Myoli

It took three months after graduating with a BCom Honours degree in Information Systems from the University of the Western Cape before Olwethu’s job search produced a result: the opportunity to be part of Cipla’s Graduate Programme. “I already the Cipla brand and products. When I first applied for a place in the sales force effectiveness programme I was rejected.”
It was another two weeks before Olwethu got a call from someone who was interested in recruiting her for the Graduate Programme in a role she could fill. “I was so excited to be working in my field for Cipla.

“The job market is really hard for graduates, as even though they may have the right qualifications it often comes down to experience. More programmes like this are needed to give graduates practical work experience and opportunities to kickstart their careers.”

Another difficulty for graduates is that job adverts will often stipulate a specific language or ownership of a car as an essential criteria, which takes many out of the running. “The job search can be frustrating and disheartening. I’m one of the lucky ones and the first prize for me would be a permanent position. It’s also inspiring to work in a company where you can see women of colour getting ahead.”

1. The World Bank. The World Bank in Gender. Accessed online:
2. Public Servants Association. Women and the workplace: Challenges of diversity and women progression. Accessed online: