Guild on women, ethnic minorities: ‘The need for change is clear.’

The Pharmacy Guild’s David Quilty says he hopes this year more women will be elected to Guild positions

Writing in this week’s edition of Forefront, the Guild’s executive director says that currently, the number of women in such positions is “disproportionately low”.

“To address this National Council recently approved a strategy and action plan to enhance gender equity and diversity across Guild committees and companies,” he writes.

“This plan recognises that it is vital for the future of community pharmacy that the Guild leadership reflects the diverse composition of our membership.”

Mr Quilty says that the Guild is committed to implementing an “open and transparent” approach to gender balance.

“Diversity is a matter of good business, good management and good governance,” he writes.

“The need for change is clear. Over recent years the profession has undergone demographic shifts with an increasing number of women entering the profession to the extent that now most pharmacy graduates coming out of our universities are women.

“Despite this, women are under-represented among pharmacy owners – at just over 30% – and this is also reflected in the fact that women are under-represented in the official ranks of the Pharmacy Guild.

“Put bluntly, there are not enough women involved in our elected leadership to reflect our Membership and the gender balance in the pharmacist profession.”

However, the Guild has already taken steps to address the situation, Mr Quilty writes.

These include proactively appointing female Members where possible to fill vacancies on National Committees.

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

“We are making it clear we want female Guild members involved in the governance, direction and leadership of the Guild.

“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.”

Currently half of all Guild members are aged 45 and under, with female members predominantly in the 36-to-45 age category. However, overall only 31% of members are female.

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.”

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