“Diversity means more than just ensuring representation by women.”

There are many aspects to diversity, says this NSW pharmacist and former refugee in the latest Guild Bulletin

Pharmacist Veronica Nou from Colyton Centre Pharmacy in NSW has told the Guild Bulletin that the push for greater diversity is more than simply addressing gender issues.

“The challenges for the pharmacy industry as a whole are not all that different to those facing the rest of society,” said Ms Nou.

“There are major barriers for women in achieving past a certain point in their careers.”

She points out while women make up the majority of pharmacy graduates and pharmacist employees, they are “very much the minority” in terms of committee representation and ownership.

“Obviously this is something that needs to be addressed,” she says, but adds that people of diverse backgrounds also need to be recognised.

“I think the Pharmacy Guild’s push for gender diversity is admirable and I support it wholeheartedly,” she says.

“But I do feel that the word diversity is often taken to mean only gender.

“There are many aspects to diversity—socio-economic backgrounds, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, do we live in metro or regional areas, and so on,” says Ms Nou.

She tells the Guild Bulletin that she is a former refugee.

“Even in the pharmacy sometimes, I’ll be doing something free of charge for a customer and they’re standing there telling me how terrible it is refugees are coming here.

“I stand there thinking, ‘it may come as a huge surprise to you but I was actually not born here’,” says Ms Nou.

The article comes following the Pharmacy Guild’s 2017 push for gender equity and diversity across Guild committees and companies.

This year’s elections for Guild Branch Committees and National Councillors will see women actively encouraged to stand for positions.

“We are making it clear we want female Guild members involved in the governance, direction and leadership of the Guild,” said Executive Director David Quilty.

“This is what we are saying to female Guild Members: If you are a female pharmacy owner and you’ve ever thought about running for Guild office, please know that we support you and we encourage you, and as an organisation we need you to come on board.

“We need you on board for the good of community pharmacy and the good of the Guild.”

Mr Quilty also writes that diversity concerns more than gender, and that he hopes to see the Guild leadership better represent the many ethnic backgrounds of the membership.

“Our Membership is ethnically diverse, and we are committed to trying to ensure the Guild is reflective of, and responsive to, the needs and expectations of our membership regardless of their ethnicity or gender.

“And that means also actively encouraging people from diverse ethnic backgrounds to become involved in Guild affairs and leadership.”

Read the full interview with Veronica here

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