Woman of substance tells us about working in Tehran
Roche’s Nazanin Parsanejad tells us about work, women and healthcare in Iran.
Of the 30 employees in the Roche office at Tehran, a majority are women. One of them is Nazanin Parsanejad who works in the medical team as Clinical Research Associate. And this is not a surprise either for her or other women working at Roche or in the pharmaceutical business in Iran.
“I believe that the perception of women not working in our country or not earning high qualifications is very misplaced,” she tells Roche. “In Iran, more than 50 percent of university students and a large number of university teachers are women. Increasingly, women are seeking top managerial positions both in the government and private sector.”
It was only in August 2013 that Roche Pars Limited was officially established as a legal entity, moving into a new office in the northern part of Tehran. From 2004 onwards, Roche had operated in Iran through an agent. Today, both Pharma and Diagnostics divisions are present in the country.
Inspired and challenged
Nazanin works in the medical team comprising of three and reports to the Medical Manager. Her focus in the department is on clinical operations, and on a day-to-day basis she deals with medical thought leaders, investigators, regulatory authorities and other stakeholders in the medical community.
She joined Roche three years ago, “to be inspired, challenged and rewarded. It is a nice feeling to see that you can progress and that you are given the opportunity to develop your skills. I am learning day by day and understand the meaning of job satisfaction,” she emphasizes.
Healthcare in Iran
The healthcare system in Iran is challenging with many players, both multinational corporations as well as several big local companies. There is a system of insurance that covers all locally produced medicine, but only partially covers medicines that are manufactured abroad. The rest has to be paid out of pocket by patients.
“Less than two decades ago, all big hospitals, healthcare centers and medical institutions were owned and managed by the government. But they have realized that healthcare is too vast an area to be managed alone by the government and since then the private sector got increasingly involved,” she tells Roche.
The value of education
The importance of education given to girls in Iranian society is clearly reflected in the way Nazanin and her twin sister were brought up. Daughters of an Air Force pilot and a stay-at-home mother based in Tehran, the two girls were encouraged to study right from early childhood. “Since my father was extremely busy most of the time, my loving mother sacrificed a lot to bring us up in the best possible way. My sister and I went to the same schools, same classes and the same university.”It was only at that stage that she picked medicine and her sister decided to pursue pharmacology, competing in the nationwide university entrance examinations for places in the country’s top universities.
After graduating from the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, one of Iran’s premier educational institutions, Nazanin worked for two years in the Pediatric Respiratory Diseases Research Center before joining Roche.
Women and the world
Nazanin lives in Tehran with her husband. Outside of work, she keeps time aside for her daily workout which she believes “is necessary to enhance one’s mental and physical well-being and energize you at the end of the working day.” On weekends, it is a combination of tennis, dining out and shopping unless she’s in a “stay indoors kind of mood.”
At work, she believes her current role gives her the valuable opportunity to interact with colleagues and peers from around the world, from which she learns a lot about traditions, work ethics and business principles. The opportunities offered to women the world over in Roche are a great source of encouragement, too. “We as women should make every effort to prove that we are capable, competent and motivated to play our roles at work and in society as we make up half the population of the world,” Nazanin says with pride.