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United Nations

Pharmacy academic tells UN forum of need for gender parity science prize

Women in the sciences, public health and medicine will remain stuck if gender biases in health awards are not addressed, says University College London senior teaching fellow.

A leading academic pharmacist has called for an annual gender parity prize in science.

Speaking at the third United Nations (UN) International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGS) Forum in New York, Oksana Pyzik, a senior teaching fellow, University College London (UCL) School of Pharmacy, said measures to redress gender bias in public health and medicine could include establishing an award for gender parity in the sciences.

She said the proposed award could be given annually on the International Women and Girls in Science Day, which the UN marks on February 11 each year.

Commenting on the need for this award Pyzik, who is also global engagement coordinator at UCL and global health advisor and board trustee for the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association, said: “Only nine in every 100 awards in public health and medicine are attributed to a woman, despite them making up the majority of the healthcare workforce.

“If we don’t address gender biases in health awards, women will remain stuck; they will not receive awards because of their lack of representation in leadership positions, and their lack of awards will limit their advancement towards those very leadership positions.”

She also stressed the need for “women in science to apply their brainpower, gifts and grit, and imagination in blazing new paths to new solutions”.

Following the Forum, her recommendation for this award was incorporated into an ‘outcome document’, produced after the meeting.

Pyzik said her experience of speaking at the event in New York felt like “more than just talk”, and that “the momentum for change has never been more ripe”.

“I was very encouraged and inspired by the youth who demanded a right to speak at the table and present solutions to gender inequality for the future,” she said.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204514

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