#WomenPharmacistDay: Why empowering women is good for the future of pharmacy

#WomenPharmacistDay: Why empowering women is good for the future of pharmacy

October 7, 2019

Julie Wilson, Essential Insights contributor

The rising influence of women in healthcare – and in pharmacy, specifically – is a topic that can’t be overstated.

When it comes to new entrants into the pharmacy profession, women continue to outpace men – earning 61.9% of the professional pharmacy degrees in 2017. Looking more broadly, women also comprise nearly three fourths of the overall U.S. healthcare workforce.

While women are gravitating toward healthcare (and pharmacy) careers in record numbers, they’re also taking the lead when it comes to making healthcare decisions for their families, at home.

In honor of #WomenPharmacistDay celebrated on Oct. 12, Cindy Pigg, Vice President of Managed Care and Business Development for Cardinal Health,

talks about why more progress still needs to be made when it comes to women claiming their fair share of leadership positions within the field of pharmacy – especially when it comes to pharmacy ownership.

Wilson: Why is empowering women good for the future of pharmacy?

Pigg: The majority of practicing pharmacists are now women – which means that women now play a truly vital role in the delivery of pharmacy care to patients. Our ability to support and empower the professional growth of female pharmacists is now inexorably linked to the future of the profession. We can’t have a thriving profession if we’re not empowering the more than 60% of practicing pharmacists to pursue leadership roles.

Wilson: Which pharmacy leadership roles are most in need of progress when it comes to female representation?

Pigg: Independent pharmacy ownership is one of the pharmacy leadership tracks with significant opportunity for improvement when it comes to female representation. We know that less than 25% of all independent pharmacies are female-owned – even though pharmacy ownership provides pharmacists the opportunity to drive change in the profession and practice at the top of their license. It also provides pharmacists the chance to have daily interaction directly with patients, and to be reimbursed for delivering clinical services.

Wilson: What more can be done to increase the number of women-owned pharmacies?

Pigg: Simply put, more female pharmacists need to be aware of pharmacy ownership as a career option – and they need more support when it comes to pursuing that career path. It’s also important to remember that representation matters – and the truth is that pharmacy ownership has always been dominated by men. Female pharmacists also need to see, and hear from, more female pharmacy owners.

That’s why Cardinal Health launched the Women in Pharmacy initiative in 2012 to help support women pharmacists on the path to ownership, dispel the myths around ownership and partner with organizations leading change.  We’re connecting female pharmacists and student pharmacists with the support, encouragement, mentoring and guidance they need to pursue leadership in pharmacy, including pharmacy ownership.

Wilson: What role does #WomenPharmacistDay play in empowering female pharmacists?

Pigg: #WomenPharmacistDay is an inspiring and easy way to recognize the significant gains that women have made in pursuing careers in pharmacy, and to honor the trailblazers who have made such progress possible. It’s also a great way to celebrate important contributions that women pharmacists make, every day, to deliver quality care to patients nationwide.

Call to action: #WomenPharmacistDay Oct 12th

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Happy Women Pharmacist Day! #womenpharmacistday

 

In 2013, Harvard Economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz published a paper which showed that the pharmacy profession was one of the few healthcare professions to have an equal representation of men and women. Gardner and Stowe reported that in 1992-93, female pharmacists comprised only 26% of faculty at pharmacy schools. Today women make up the majority of faculty, students and practicing pharmacists.  Remember that scene in the movie “‘Dead Poets Society’ where Robin Williams shows the students photos of past graduates from decades earlier. It reminded me when I was a student, walking down the halls of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy and seeing the rows and rows of photographs of UIC alumni who had once been in my shoes. But unlike the students in the movie, I couldn’t see myself in all of the photos specifically because the early ones were mostly men. Things have certainly changed.

 

October 12, 2018 will be the first time we celebrate and recognize #WomenPharmacistDay (WPD).  WPD is about honoring and acknowledging the strides we have made as women in pharmacy. It is also a day to remember the pioneers in the field that paved the way.  Women like Elizabeth Gooking Greenleaf, who is recognized as the first female pharmacist in the US who had 12 children (hence October 12)! Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi who was the first woman to graduate from a school of pharmacy in the US, and Margaret Cornelius “Cora” Dow who was the first female pharmacist to own a chain of pharmacies (11 in total). Zada Mary Cooper is known as the “grand and glorious lady of pharmacy”, and Mary Munson Runge was the first female president of a national pharmacy organization. Each and everyday women pharmacists help advance the practice of pharmacy and science and as a result, change lives. WPD is about recognizing what we as women have accomplished and will continue to accomplish.

 

Today, I encourage everyone to celebrate Women Pharmacists! The celebration is long overdue, and I am so happy that it is finally here. Thank you to all of the pharmacy influencers and to our corporate sponsor, Cardinal Health, for supporting WPD and making this day possible.

 

HAPPY FIRST WOMEN PHARMACIST DAY TO MY TRIBE #RXMOMS AND TO ALL WOMEN PHARMACISTS!

 

Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS

Founder, Pharmacist Moms Group

www.pharmacistmomsgroup.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pharmacistmomsgroup/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/suzyatpharmacistmoms/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smsoliman1