Posted by: Angela Kam5 APR 2018
On Tuesday 10 April 2018 at 8 — 9pm (BST), Electronicjuice will host a Twitter chat on gender inequality in pharmacy. The panel leading the discussion includes pharmacist academics, executives, scientists, a pharmacy technician, journalist and pharmacy historian.
Use the tag #PJMindTheGap and join the discussion live on Tuesday as we delve into the issue of gender inequality within the profession, and the impact it has on the careers of female pharmacy professionals.
Introducing the panel
“Awareness of the current balance of gender at all levels within an organisation is needed to ensure that measures are taken to support a diverse workforce.”
Hannah Batchelor is the director of pharmacy research at the University of Birmingham and is co-supervisor of an ongoing research study mapping the gender balance in the progression opportunities for pharmacists, determining if the proportion of females in senior positions reflects the gender distribution on the GPhC register. Hannah’s usual research interests lie in the optimisation of drug formulations to maximise their biopharmaceutical performance and acceptability to children. Her research is informed by the views of children, young people and parents to ensure that patients are at the centre of new developments.
“Same pay for the same job — this is one of my key drivers. I would like to see that happen in pharmacies all over the world. Underrepresentation of women in pharmacy management, but equally maintaining the significant proportion of men working in pharmacy, are important goals to strive for as well.”
Sini Eskola is director for regulatory, drug development and manufacturing for the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) based in Brussels, Belgium. Her role involves both coordinating and leading on project work related to scientific, regulatory and manufacturing aspects. She also provides senior expertise and strategic advice in matters relating to legislation and policy, and represents the interests and views of EFPIA members when dealing with the European Medicines Agency, national medicines regulators and the European Commission.
“As with many professions, the female presence within pharmacy at senior level is poor; this has got to change.”
Deborah Evans is a pharmacist, pharmacy leader and the managing director of Pharmacy Complete, a consultancy providing support and training for the pharmacy profession. Deborah has worked for over 30 years within pharmacy and has enjoyed management roles within community pharmacy, has operated as a senior leader within the pharmaceutical industry and has liaised closely with primary care, hospital pharmacy sectors, and with local and national commissioners of health. Deborah feels it is important to connect with patients in her clinical pharmacy practice and continues to work regularly in a community pharmacy connected to a GP surgery. She is passionate about changing the current situation with respect to female representation in pharmacy, and is the creator and moderator of the ‘Women in Pharmacy’ Facebook group.
“Women are underrepresented in senior positions in pharmacy. Addressing this current imbalance is crucial to enhance the career opportunities for female pharmacy professionals.”
Tess Fenn is president of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK and has worked as a pharmacy technician in a variety of pharmacy sectors. She has led on pharmacy technician and support staff development, CPD, and quality assurance of vocational qualifications provision. Tess is also an external quality assurer for City & Guilds, inspecting and advising on the quality assurance, delivery and development for pharmacy. Tess is also the secretary for the European Association of Pharmacy Technicians.
“If the inequality gap is to decrease, then we must be more supportive of each other and encourage each other. We must have more mixed panels, so that we can be equally heard and seen. We need more women in senior roles, to act as role models and demonstrate that we are just as ambitious and worthy as men.”
Independent prescribing pharmacist, Neera Goel is the superintendent pharmacist, placement coordinator and pre-registration trainer for the West Midlands branches of Jhoots Pharmacy. Neera has experience working within various sectors of the pharmacy profession, and is also the Jhoots academic teaching practitioner at the University of Birmingham, facilitating the undergraduate MPharm and postgraduate Independent Prescribing courses.
“I’m proud of the fact [that] I’m a woman in boardrooms, but I don’t try to behave like the men. Women are different and we shouldn’t feel we need to hide it.”
Leyla Hannbeck is chief pharmacist and director of pharmacy for the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), and is accountable for all NPA support services, training solutions and representation and member liaison in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. She is currently the most senior female pharmacist executive among all national pharmacy organisations. Leyla represents the NPA and its members to stakeholders and undertakes a professional leadership role to ensure NPA members are kept abreast of changes related to pharmacy policy and practice. Leyla is also the medicines safety officer for all independent pharmacies with less than 50 branches and through her role promotes patient safety and a culture of learning and sharing best practice knowledge in community pharmacy.
“There is no reason for pharmacy to believe it is immune from the issues identified in other professions and workplaces.”
Christine Heading is an academic pharmacist, associate lecturer with the Open University, and an executive committee member of the National Association of Women Pharmacists, an independent organisation within the profession in the UK that concerns itself with issues of special relevance to female pharmacists. Christine has a background in both academia and industry, and is the deputy lead of the London North West Local Practice Forum of the Royal Electronicjuice (RPS).
“Looking back at women pharmacists in the profession’s history provides fascinating insights into the issues facing women (and men) in pharmacy today.”
Briony Hudson is a pharmacy historian and freelance museum curator. She began research into women pharmacists while keeper of the RPS Museum, and has continued investigating their place in the profession’s history. Briony will be holding a on 17 April 2018 titled ‘The petticoat peril’, which will explore women in pharmacy history. She is also currently project curator for an looking at 500 years of women in medicine, which will open at the Royal College of Physicians in September 2018.
“Women represent 60% of pharmacists on the GPhC register, but only hold 36% of the most senior positions within the profession. So where have they gone, and why?”
Saša Jankovic is a pharmacy journalist and business writer. Saša recently reported on the issue of gender inequality in the pharmacy profession and its impact on the careers of female pharmacists. The article ‘From the shop floor to the glass ceiling’ was featured in the March 2018 print edition of Electronicjuice and was a catalyst for the #PJMindTheGap Twitter chat on gender inequality in pharmacy.
“The discussion over gender inequality within pharmacy is a much needed one, as is the discussion about diversity.”
Kere Odumah is a senior clinical writer for Stockley’s Drug Interactions at Pharmaceutical Press and is the British National Formulary liaison for the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, which provides intial training and membership options for health professionals working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health within the UK. Kere also has previous experience in community pharmacy working at managerial level for a Boots Pharmacy flagship store.
“Women in the sciences, public health and medicine will remain stuck if gender biases in health awards are not addressed.”
Oksana Pyzik is a pharmacist, academic and global engagement coordinator at the UCL School of Pharmacy and has championed gender equality for women and girls in science at local and global level. In February 2018, Oksana was invited to address the United Nations in New York on “Advancing Women in Science & Leadership” for the 3rd International Day of Women & Girls in Science Forum. She has also partnered with the Girls Network to work with schools in deprived and underserved areas of London to mentor and support girls at risk of exclusion.
“You might walk into a room of grey hairs and no hairs and feel uncomfortable, but I know that people will remember me then … because I’m the only woman in the room.”
Claire Thompson is deputy chief scientist for the RPS, a pharmaceutical industry entrepreneur and 2015 recipient of the RPS commendation for pharmaceutical science. Claire has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 15 years, co-founding two pharmaceutical science companies. Claire emphasises that she has never been subject to sexism in her career but highlights the importance of having professional female role models to help women establish and achieve their aspirations.