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Is the age of countless pharmacy organisations coming to an end?

By Anonymous
Community pharmacist

09 May 2019

While it’s a shame, the upcoming demise of the NAWP could end up being a positive, says an anonymous contractor

Following much outrage that the National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP) is to disband at the end of the year, I have to ask the masses – the average pharmacist on the street – complaining whether they themselves didn’t contribute to its demise. Surely you cannot complain that a membership society has dissolved if you yourself aren’t a member and haven’t contributed to it.

There also appears to be an assumption that if you are female, you must support a women’s pharmacist network. You don’t need to be part of a network to believe in equality for women. It’s incumbent on every single member of the profession to ensure that there are equal opportunities for all, regardless of sex, creed or race.

The NAWP is an impressive organisation but if you ask me, it has a bit of a Women’s Institute (WI) feel to it and that has probably led to younger members of the profession feeling that it hasn’t met their needs.

If pharmacists haven’t been persuaded that the NAWP adds to their professional lives, then how can it, just like the other pharmacy membership organisations, expect to continue? After all, the profession has come a very long way from women not being permitted to become pharmacists. The problem now is that the whole profession is under threat.

The problem with too many organisations in pharmacy is that the sector’s message can be diluted. There is no single body setting the agenda. How hard would it be for all the egos in pharmacy leadership to be set aside and for organisations to work together?

For the legacy of the NAWP to continue, and perhaps even for it to evolve into a different form, individual pharmacy bodies must ensure that equality and diversity is considered as part of every single objective.

I see the occasional equality initiative in pharmacy that smacks of tokenism rather than a sustained effort to keep important gender matters on the agenda. Sponsoring an event or having the odd event highlighting women’s issues but doing nothing else to further the cause the rest of the time isn’t going to the cut it. I cannot understand why these organisations do not work together more when their ultimate goals are to help pharmacists.

Part of me hopes that in the future more organisations will decide to merge rather than the current work in silos that has led to the current fractious state of pharmacy. Perhaps having fewer organisations would help ensure that the profession has one voice. I am hopeful that this could lead to the renaissance of pharmacy.

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