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From the shop floor to the glass ceiling


I have read this feature with keen interest and I have had the following initial thoughts to elicit constructive debate. In addition, on re-reading the GPhC's standard#9 regarding pharmacists demonstrating leadership [in the current Medicines, Ethics and Practice guide, July 2017 page 135] it is apparent that absolutely no distinction is made about one's gender when it comes to leading in the pharmacy workplace. So in the interests of gender equality, I am politely requesting that the RPS must also offer leadership training and similar opportunities for male (and transgender) pharmacists and technicians as is being organised for our female colleagues. It would be unjustifiably unfair for the RPS to be solely promote the valid interests of one gender to the exclusion of any other. My pharmacist role models, mentors and coaches have encompassed people from all genders, colours and creeds. I have had to manage self-doubt and confidence issues and "glass ceilings" throughout my career - issues which are not solely the preserve of female pharmacists and technicians. For example, reflecting on the last five years, my sibling sisters have been consistently earning more per annum than me. I do not know exactly how much more but they would tell me what they earn is none of my business! In the dog-eat-dog world of work and money, could it be that they have been negotiating their terms and conditions in a more structured yet calculating manner than me? But I know for sure that as women of colour, they have simply put in the sheer, hard graft and working hours necessary to progress their careers whilst juggling outside of work responsibilities. And as alluded to by former RPS president Hemant Patel, they have had to prove their worth and value to their employers [a GP practice and NHS hospital trust respectively] and colleagues time and again. On further reflection, I have been fortunate to have met former inspirational RPS presidents like Gill Hawksworth, Linda Stone and the late Ann Lewis - none of whom seemed to be "held back" by their gender in reaching what I consider to be the pinnacle, the summit, the zenith of our pharmacy profession. I have yet to read student Maria Naylor's research in detail. But a nagging initial thought in the back of my mind: is 387 respondents sufficiently powered to merit your attention-grabbing headline with subjective words like: "only 36%" and "most" [senior positions in pharmacy]? I agree that the time is right to look into the glaring inequalities affecting the pharmacy profession and to collaboratively identify workable solutions. Otherwise, there is undue risk of a "them versus us" mentality that just breeds resentment and hostility on all sides to the detriment of our collective patients. However, despite the relentless media obsession to fundamentally challenge masculinity at its very root and make "men" in general feel awkward or flawed etc, I will not apologise for being a competitve yet collaborative male pharmacist who wants to progress further in the profession.

Posted date

27 MAR 2018

Posted time



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