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A ‘hard look’ at gender parity issues will be vital as the proportion of women working in pharmacy increases, a representative body for the sector has warned.
The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) said that healthcare workforce planners will need to scrutinize the issue as more than seven in 10 pharmacy workers worldwide will be female by 2030.
The news comes while the FIP holds its 78th annual World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science in Glasgow, from 2 to 6 September.
Rise in female workforce
According to the FIP’s report, the total number of female pharmacy workers will rise by 16% to reach an estimated 72% of the global pharmacy workforce. This follows a ‘steady’ rise of 7.5% every decade in the proportion of women working in pharmacy.
The report’s lead author Professor Ian Bates said: ‘The increasing proportion of women in the workforce will have complex implications for health workforce planners ― which will include a hard look at gender equity issues in addition to a greater professional and economic focus on how we support “return to practice” after career breaks.’
The report also showed that the number of pharmacists – females and males combined – per 10,000 patients has increased since 2006, from 7.4 in 2016 to an estimated 10.47 in 2030.
Overall, the report’s authors projected that the total global pharmacy workforce will rise by 40% between 2016 and 2030.
Lack of women in senior roles
In the UK, men occupy the majority of senior roles despite pharmacy being a female-dominated profession, according to resarchers from the University of Birmingham School of Pharmacy, who estimated that females make up 36% of the most senior positions compared to 64% of males.
According to the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there is still a 13% pay gap between female and male pharmacists working full-time.