Josyula K. Lakshmi: International Women's Day 2019 Profile

Josyula K. Lakshmi’s work focuses on health promotion through awareness-raising, behaviour change and the creation of supportive physical, social and policy environments. She has been in the public health sector for 15 years and joined The George Institute for Global Health two years ago.

Lakshmi has always been fascinated by the workings and interrelationships of nature, societies and individuals, particularly in relationship to health.

“The idea of exploring and harnessing these patterns and mechanisms for the improvement of population health is incredibly motivating for me. The most compelling research findings I have been involved in have related to gaps in awareness of various systems of medicine among practitioners of different medical systems.”

“I would like to contribute to improving understanding of the mosaic of diverse medical systems, in particular to the sensitisation of practitioners of different systems of medicine to the medically pluralistic context that they work in.”

In order to achieve a more gender-balanced world, Lakshmi says the professional sphere needs to be free from prejudice relating to gender stereotypes, while retaining sensitivity to gender. 

“Gender sensitivity is essential and welcome; gender bias masquerading as gender sensitivity is not.”

Regarding this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #Balanceforbetter, Lakshmi says investing energy in one’s personal life is not only necessary, but results in better professional outcomes.

“Creation cannot flourish in the absence of recreation." 

It is vital to nurture avocations, to develop, recharge, expand horizons, and make novel connections - for fun in general and to make progress in one’s vocation.”

“This is in addition to devoting energies to a full personal and social life. The one-dimensional pursuit of one’s career to the exclusion of other passions, priorities and interests, far from guaranteeing high quality of work, in fact detracts from it.”

Lakshmi encourages other women to get into research, and says that they need to be aware of their surroundings and their responsibility to improve what’s around them.

“Be cognisant of the societal and organisational structures that you work in. Be prepared to deal with gender discrimination, but not by giving in. Be willing to enlighten your world.”