Poll: quotas for women in pharmacy leadership


Women in leadership panel at PSA17. Photo: AJP.

Do you believe in quotas or targets for women in pharmacy leadership?

The issue of women in pharmacy leadership has been gathering steam of late.

At last year’s Pharmacy Guild parliamentary dinner, president George Tambassis encouraged women to run for office.

“We want and need more female members involved in the leadership of the Guild,” he said at the time. “Women are under-represented as pharmacy owners—at just over 30%—and in Guild leadership roles.”

And at last week’s PSA conference, an all-female panel facilitated by Dr Alison Roberts saw women discuss their experiences in pharmacy, including the gender pay gap and dismissive attitudes towards women.

They also discussed the possibility of either quotas—meaning a specific number or percentage is required—or targets to aim for.

“I used to be against quotas because nobody wants to be there as a token female,” said Debbie Rigby, who last year was voted Australia’s top Woman of Influence by AJP readers.

“But the reality is that we’re not there yet. I think there should be targets but not quotas.”

Industry heavyweight Rhonda White said she had always been against quotas, but that ”I think quotas have made good men aware of their responsibility,” while hospital pharmacist and Member for Dobell Emma McBride said she believes in increasing quotas in politics.

In 2016, following discussions at APP about the representation of women in leadership and as speakers at the event, AJP asked whether women were well enough represented and 70% of you said no.

Now we’d like to know what you think. Should pharmacy organisations like the Guild or PSA implement quotas, or targets to shoot for—or neither? Tell us why in the comments.

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28 Comments

  1. Toby
    04/08/2017

    Would that not be discriminatory, and therefore illegal?

    • pagophilus
      09/08/2017

      How about that café that prioritises women, and charges men 18% extra. Who’s going to take them to court for discrimination?

      • United we stand
        09/08/2017

        Is this for real Pago? Can you post a link plz LMAO

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            09/08/2017

            Hardly relevant to this particular discussion…..

            But you’ll note that the extra charge is one week per month, and that the extra is donated to charity (shock horror, a women’s charity).

          • pagophilus
            09/08/2017

            Still discrimination, no matter how you dress it up. Just that nobody is game or can be bothered to challenge it. They’re too busy chasing people who disagree with same sex marriage.

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            10/08/2017

            They advertise it ahead of entering the business. That’s not discrimination; it’s a marketing ploy

          • pagophilus
            12/08/2017

            So if I advertise discrimination ahead of time that makes it ok?

          • Ronky
            15/08/2017

            Gays have a higher than average disposable income. So if a business advertised ahead of their entering that it charges them more, with the proceeds donated to a charity dedicated to “closing the gap”, is that OK? Not discrimination of course, just a marketing ploy. You’d have no objection to that, right?

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            15/08/2017

            That’s an extraordinary opening sentence Peter. Interested to know where you come by that opinion.

          • Ronky
            15/08/2017

            It’s a well known phenomenon that’s been reported for many years, see e.g. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/census-data-on-gay-households-2015-6?r=US&IR=T
            But apart from disputing the premise, you’d have no objection to this “marketing ploy” assuming the premise is correct, right? If not why not?

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            15/08/2017

            I fully expect you to attempt to misquote me or twist my response to suit your attempted narrative, but whatever.

            If the situation from Leo’s original link was replicated, namely:
            1) The price difference is applied for specific periods of time (ie 1 week per month)
            2) This price difference, and how it is applied, is well defined before purchase.
            3) The nature of the price difference is a donation to a registered charity

            Then yes, this marketing ploy would not raise any objections from me. It may well raise objections from others, and this would affect the success of both the marketing strategy, and the business overall.

          • Ronky
            15/08/2017

            Thanks, very interesting. I’m not attempting any narrative nor have any desire to misquote or even quote you. I just wanted to understand your extraordinary belief that this is not discrimination. I assure you many of us would have very strong objections and you would likely be hauled before the anti-discrimination tribunal.

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            15/08/2017

            Peter, the nature of these kinds of pricing mechanisms is based on societal acceptance, not ethics.

            To clarify, I don’t think that providing a price difference isn’t unethical (that’s a lot of negatives – I feel there is a level of unethical behaviour in applying a price differentiation model).

            Yet, interestingly, I provide two such examples right now in my pharmacy.

            The first is based on income. I discriminate based on income levels every single day.

            The second is age. I have a permanent price difference in place for people of a certain age bracket, which does not apply to others.

            These are both extremely common, widely accepted, and discriminate based on two specific characteristics that do not apply to myself. Should I be taken to the anti-discrimination tribunal twice?

          • Ronky
            15/08/2017

            Yes, that’s also very interesting. Do you clearly advertise this discrimination, and apply the other 3 conditions which you specified above? (I’m guessing no to number 1, as you said it’s permanent and every day).
            Especially in light of your strong view a few weeks ago that it’s wrong and stupid to have a price difference to help to deter inappropriate use of a product.

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            15/08/2017

            I’m not sure if you would say that the price discrimination is “clearly” advertised. I guess it depends on how well you read the fine print when signing a PBS prescription.

            The age discrimination is advertised on the front door, in the form of “we accept seniors cards” logo.

            I haven’t expressed any strong views on using pricing to deter the inappropriate use of any products.

          • Ronky
            15/08/2017

            See https://ajp.com.au/news/high-ec-price-discourage-inappropriate-use/?utm_source=AJP+Daily&utm_campaign=80fcda912f-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_23&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cce9c58212-80fcda912f-109535937

            “The only reason to charge significantly more than a competitor for any product should be the overheads involved in that supply, whether it be higher wholesale cost, or higher wages paid for the workforce of that business (assuming that this is invested into a service level that is valued by patients)…. As for inappropriate use – whether this is the case or not, price signalling is not the method to address this (if it is in fact “inappropriate”). The method of addressing this is through patient counselling to ensure correct use…. I’m pointing out how its inappropriate, and a stupid business decision as well.”

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            15/08/2017

            Yes I know what you were referring to.

            I was attempting to avoid your inference that the use of post-coital contraception was “inappropriate” rather than pricing it to discourage use being inappropriate – I should have worded this better.

            Regardless, my price discrimination isn’t intended to be a mechanism to deter use/purchases.

          • Ronky
            15/08/2017

            You said “any product”, and I was not making that inference then, nor am I now.
            Surely having a higher price to deter purchases by one set of people is just the other side of the coin to having a lower price to encourage purchases by the complementary set of people.

  2. Lance Emerson
    16/08/2017

    Good on AJP / Megan Haggan for reporting this. The majority of university graduates (56%) in Aust. are women – yet only 22% of ASX Board directors and 15% of CEOs are women– there is clearly an issue, and Pharmacy is no different. So what works? In Norway they legislated for quotas, and female board director numbers rose from 7% – 40% in 7 years. And the year after the ASX asked for reporting against target numbers of women directors on boards – new female board director appointments rose from 5% to 27% in just one year. We need to progress targets, quotas or whatever is required to see better representation and balance on boards & senior management – its good for companies AND for a society where I hope my daughter (and sons) will grow up in.

    • Ronky
      17/08/2017

      Nonsense, there is not clearly an issue, in fact those figures don’t even vaguely suggest there is an issue. If 56% of applicants but 22% of new appointees for these positions were women, then that may point to an issue which one would have to investigate further to find if there were any women candidates who were overlooked in favour of a male candidate with clearly inferior qualifications, employment history, relevant personal qualities etc. Most women do not want those positions, or to do the 40 year , 60 hours a week workplace grind typically required to get into consideration for such positions. And of course many company directors and CEOs did not graduate from university. And those women who do want those positions want to get them on merit. Politically correct “targets” means that even those women who are appointed on merit have to labour under the suspicion that they only got the job so that the company/organisation could reach the magic “target” percentage of women in top jobs.

      • Jarrod McMaugh
        18/08/2017

        Peter, your response to Lance could be included verbatim on this webpage as a precise example of the concept. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mansplaining

        • Ronky
          18/08/2017

          I repeat, if you think anything I said is faulty or mistaken in fact or logic, then attempt to refute it, rather than merely throw out an empty and offensive ad hominem label.

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            19/08/2017

            For the record Peter, an “ad homenim” response is where someone responds about you, not the content of what you said.

            My response is specifically about what you said. If you don’t want to receive criticism of what you say, then perhaps put more time in to thinking about what you say.

            If you’d like me to refute your argument, then I’d need to get some indication from you that this would be worth the time – ie would you actually heed the points raised?

            The reason I make this point is because Lance and Megan both make some very specific statements backed up with facts and statistics that are valid, yet your response is ‘nonsense, there is not a clear issue’

            It’s a bit hard to remain credulous of your comments when there is clearly an issue – and unlike arguments about metaphysical issues like religion, this is not a topic that is lacking in evidence. There is clear evidence that participation rates for women are lower in leadership roles. There is clear evidence that remuneration for roles that are “traditionally” regarded to be “female” work are lower due to society’s opinions of the value of women.

            Trying to argue that there is no issue, or that even if there is, well it’s just because women aren’t doing enough to be involved, is not only ridiculous, but it is insulting to everyone.

          • Ronky
            19/08/2017

            No, your response didn’t address anything I said, it merely labelled me as “mansplaining”. That is an ad hominem (note spelling) response.

            I welcome criticism of what I say, which I think is very clear from my posts here.

            I made no comment about Megan’s report and I have no criticism of it.
            The very point I made about Lance’s post is that the facts and statistics he quoted do NOT back up his specific statements. So yes it is nonsense to say that they clearly indicate that there is an issue.

            I have never disputed the facts that there is clear evidence that participation rates for women are lower in leadership roles, and that there is clear evidence that remuneration for roles that are “traditionally” [why the care quotes?] regarded to be “female” [why the scare quotes?] work are lower. My point is that these facts are not evidence, and certainly not “clear” evidence as Lance claims, much less watertight proof as you seem to claim, that these statistics are “due to society’s opinions of the value of women” and that therefore there is an issue that needs to be addressed by such draconian measures as quotas and targets.

            Claiming that I said that “it’s just because women aren’t doing enough to be involved”, is not only ridiculous, but it is insulting not only to me but to the intelligence of your readers who can see what I said and what I didn’t say. So put your straw man away and this time try to address the point that I actually made, if you can.

          • Jarrod McMaugh
            19/08/2017

            Peter, here are some of the issues with what you said, and why labelling them “mansplaining” is not only different from an ad hominem, but a very apt description of your point.

            When you look at the figured that Lance quotes, then there does very clearly demonstrate an issue.

            If 50% of people can only attain 25% of roles, this is an issue, no matter the underlying factors. Ide tidying those factors is clearly important, but assuming that this is only a problem if decision makers are overtly deciding not to choose one type of person over another is naive and ignorant of the depth of societal barriers to participation.

            In this case, you say the reason is related to the motivation of women to participate. To quote you – “Most women do not want those positions, or to do the 40 year , 60 hours a week workplace grind typically required to get into consideration for such positions”

            To put it mildly Peter, that statement is pure bullshit.

            The demographics of adults in Australia consists of a significant diversity in cultural background, yet this diversity is not well represented in executive level roles (IE government, advocacy groups, CEO/COO/Boards). What is the reason you’d posit for each aspect of Australian society not having the same participation levels as white middle-aged men? Is there a different reason for each?

            Or could it be that there is a specific cultural udnercurrent that explains all of this? Could it be that our society is geared towards rewarding and recognising one specific group of people automatically, but questioning the validity or suitability of each other group (to varying degrees) in a way that discourages participation?

            Could it be that social norms drive this unconscious behaviour? Things like valuing certain professions less because they are done by women. Like referring to undesirable behaviour in terms that are gendered. Like spending an inordinate amount of energy denying that the issues that a person encounters every day in their life aren’t actually a thing.

          • Ronky
            19/08/2017

            I hesitate to respond to someone who has to continually resort to personal insults and profanity, but I’ll give it another try to explain the simple logic to you. The figures quoted do NOT say that 50% of people “can only attain” 25% of roles. That is purely your assertion with no evidence to support it.

            You assume there must be a problem of non-overt sexism out of an a priori assumption, which has nothing to do with the statistics. The percentage breakdown of any particular group by sex, race, religion, age, ethnic background, etc. etc. will never be an exact replica of the percentage breakdown of the population as a whole. There are a thousand and one reasons why this is so, and to simply assert without any evidence that it MUST be because somebody somewhere or maybe “society” somehow, is being sexist (or racist, etc.) is logically absurd. To act on this illogical conclusion to demand that where the percentages of any group fall below the percentage in the whole population that there must be some sort of coercion to choose people on some basis other than suitability for the job, is wrong.

            You exercise your indignation greatly about things like valuing certain professions less because they are done by women. Funny how nobody ever seems to complain that the vast majority of ditch-diggers, garbage collectors etc are men.

            I don’t “feel” that quotas or targets are wrong and even counterproductive of their supposed aim (not sure what you mean by the inappropriate use of the word “valid”), I showed logical reasons why this is so. My feelings have nothing to do with it.

    • United we stand
      18/08/2017

      I guess just from the polls alone you can agree that this is a non-issue.

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