On #WomenPharmacistDay: Continue to Press for Progress

Eden Sulzer
October 11, 2018

For the past decade, I've had the great privilege of working with female pharmacists, and female pharmacy students, across the country.

Like so many other women across the country, the female pharmacists I encounter are taking care of children, families and sometimes aging parents, too. They are serving as volunteers and leaders in their local communities. Many also make time to mentor and help other female pharmacists. And all the while, these women are also providing quality pharmacy care needed by patients and families within their communities.

They're helping patients better manage diabetes, hypertension and other chronic conditions. They're delivering services that help patients better understand their conditions, so they can be more empowered to take control of their health. They're creating innovative models for delivering care -- in retail, hospital, community health center and many other settings.

And, they're doing it all in the context of a career field that has historically been dominated by men. Indeed, in the 1960s, only 8% of all U.S. pharmacists were women, and today, women comprise 55% of the pharmacist work force, according to the 2014 Pharmacist Workforce Study.

On #WomenPharmacistDay, we honor the trailblazers among us -- women who have broken down barriers to lay the groundwork for this progress. We celebrate the incredible impact that female pharmacists have, every day, on the lives of the patients they serve. And, we also join together to press for continued progress, particularly when it comes to expanding female representation in leadership roles within the profession.

The reality is that, even with all the progress that has been made over the past several decades, women are still severely under-represented in the seniormost leadership roles within all pharmacy practice settings, industry and academia. If you want to see the stats, check out Dr. Erin Albert’s recent article, “Who's on Board for Healthcare Companies, the Emma Walmsley Effect, and Women Pharmacists' Day.”

On the inaugural #WomenPharmacistDay, I encourage each of us to reflect on the hard work and determination that laid the groundwork for pharmacy to now be recognized as one of the best healthcare careers for women. We each need to commit to mentoring female pharmacists at all stages in development. We need to commit to identifying the root causes of the gender inequity we see in leadership roles within the profession; and then we need roll up our sleeves to do the hard work of breaking down barriers for women.

Let’s commit to ensuring a clear understanding – among our communities -- our colleagues -- and the leaders within our organizations -- of the essential role women pharmacists are playing, every day, in providing quality, compassionate care to patients.

Happy #WomenPharmacistDay. Let's continue to press for progress.

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