Pharmacy has a lack of women in senior roles, according to research conducted by University of Birmingham School of Pharmacy

Published on International Women’s Day (8 March), the study – Gender-balance in pharmacy: a review of the current landscape – revealed that the number of women in senior roles across the pharmacy sector does not reflect the proportion of females on the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) register.

While 61 per cent of pharmacists on the GPhC register identified as women (33,898) and 39 per cent as male (21,311), only 36 per cent of the senior roles in pharmacy are filled by women and 64 per cent by men.

Hospital pharmacy best reflected the GPhC register in terms of the proportion of females to males in senior positions, but all data suggested that females were under-represented in the most senior roles.

In community pharmacy, while there was a similar proportion of women pre-registration pharmacists and qualified pharmacists in community pharmacy as on the GPhC register, from this point onwards, the ratio of female to male pharmacists decreased as seniority increased.

Gender gap

The researchers said that further work is required to expand the findings, to explore the reasons why women are not attaining senior roles within pharmacy, and to address this within the profession, pointing out that pharmacy has been a female dominated profession since 2001.

Dr Hannah Batchelor, co-author of the study, commented: “The tipping point in gender balance in pharmacy occurred 17 years ago, so it may take time for women to reach those senior positions. In addition, a career break may lengthen the time it takes to reach such seniority, but the importance of diversity in the workplace should facilitate all staff being able to balance their career with their family life regardless of gender.”

Get involved

A new Women in Leadership Working Group hosted by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is aiming to support women to help shape the future of pharmacy and ensure the leadership in the profession reflects the diversity of workforce.

To engage with this work, email:, briefly stating what you think are the key issues for women in pharmacy and what you would like to see from a women’s network.

Discussion on social media is being encouraged using the hashtags #WomeninPharmacy, #PharmacyMeToo, #RPSwomen, and a new Women in Pharmacy Facebook group has attracted over 5,000 members.


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