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Championing women and diversity in pharmacy

What is EquityRx?

EquityRx is FIP’s leading campaign for championing women in global pharmacy and health, through the empowerment of women both within and beyond the workforce.

The evidence is clear: investing in women, whether through the female workforce (across all settings and stages) or through women caregivers in the community, enhances access to quality health care and is an essential step towards achieving universal health coverage.

As the overarching label and unifying theme for FIP’s initiatives and work on gender and diversity, EquityRx is not only about spearheading transformative gender workforce-centred policies, but also about addressing diversity issues in general. Our work currently focuses on three goals:

  • Promoting equity in the pharmacy workforce
  • Championing women in science and academia
  • Empowering women as informal caregivers

Upcoming EquityRx events

A session focusing on EquityRx will be held at the FIP congress in Seville 2020

Promoting equity in the pharmacy workforce

FIP global workforce data shows that the majority of the global pharmaceutical workforce are women, with year-on-year increases. Our intelligence indicates that the average female proportion of the total global pharmacy workforce will increase to over 70% by 2030, mirroring the proportion of women in the wider health workforce. Promoting equity in the pharmacy workforce is needed, now more than ever, to utilise women’s roles to deliver better medicines-related health for all.

FIP’s Pharmaceutical Workforce Development Goal (PWDG) 10: “Gender and diversity balances” calls for all countries to have clear strategies for addressing gender and diversity inequalities in the pharmaceutical workforce, continued education and training, and career progression opportunities.

FIP, through its Workforce Development Hub and the Workforce Transformation Programme, works with its members and partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO,) to support the development of national gender transformative policies in countries everywhere. FIP is a founding member of the WHO Gender Equity Hub.

FIPWiSE (Women in Science and Education)

FIPWiSE initiative was launched on February 11 2020 on the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science to champion women in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy education.

FIPWiSE aspires to champion and enable women in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy education to achieve their fullest potential and to attract students, young female professionals into the fields of science or education. Visit FIPWiSE’s webpage to learn more about its mission and activities.

Empowering women as informal caregivers

Women are the non-professional caregivers closest to healthcare professionals and, more often than not, are the ones who go to pharmacies and assume responsibilities for health in the household. In general, women tend to seek treatment and go to doctors’ or pharmacy’s offices more frequently than men do. In the USA, About 75% of family caregivers are women, and approximately 25% are spouses.1 With the population ageing, women are increasingly volunteering to care for their elderly family members. FIP’s  report “Pharmacists supporting women and responsible use of medicines” showcases how pharmacists should work to empower women in their role as an informal caregiver, to communicate to women the need to be informed about medicines and to support their health literacy, in order for them to be able to positively influence others. By intervening with compassion and providing information, resources, and support, pharmacists may positively affect care recipients and their caregivers.


BLOGS: Women in pharmacy

FIP is proud to offer a platform to leaders in the pharmacy profession to talk about their career development and share views on gender equity in pharmacy.



Claire Thompson is FIPWiSE chair, UK.
Deeds not words: FIP WiSE’s first year and future plans


Miranda Sertić is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry University of Zagreb, Croatia
Being a woman in science and forming a family. Can we be successful in both?


Toyin Tofade is dean and tenured professor at Howard University College of Pharmacy, Washington, USA
The 33-minute mentoring session that changed my life

Christina Chai is head of the department of Pharmacy at the National University of Singapore
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Sandra Carey is global president at McCann Health Global Pharmacy
Leaning in: Supporting our new generation of women leaders in a COVID-19 World

Sandra Leal is president-elect of the American Pharmacists Association, USA.
Making a concerted effort to invest in women

Silvana Nair Leite is PhD in public health and professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil.
I am a woman, I am a pharmacist, I have rights!




Nsovo Mayimele is a manager of professional affairs at the South African Pharmacy Council.
Empowering women for the future of pharmacy

 Claire Anderson  


Claire Anderson is chair of Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board.
Ladders and scaffolding: Building women leaders

 Sherly Melianti  


Sherly Meilianti is FIP YPG President 2020
Building a flexible career pathway and mentoring system is imperative



Sofía Segura Cano is professor in the Pharmacology and Clinical 
Toxicology Department, Medicine School, at the Costa Rica University.
What should pharmacists do to support women as caregivers?

Eeva Terasalmi headshot  


Eeva Teräsalmi is FIP vice president and owner of Seven Brothers Pharmacy,
Helsinki, Finland.
Small equity initiatives can grow into big achievements

Lucas Ercolin headshot  


Lucas Ercolin is an humanitarian pharmacist. He has worked with refugees in Iraq
as the mission pharmacist for the NGO Première Urgence Internationale.
Overcoming difficulties in achieving gender equity in the humanitarian sector




Carwen Wynne Howells is a FIP Fellow and she was the first woman to be appointed as Chief
Pharmaceutical Advisor for Wales, UK.
The "statutory woman"




Parisa Aslani is a professor in medicines use optimisation at the University of Sydney School of
Pharmacy, Australia, and immediate past president of the Australasian Pharmaceutical
Science Association (APSA).
How do we know when someone has been empowered?



Dr Nadia Al Mazrouei, assistant professor in clinical pharmacy at the University Of Sharjah and
vice president of the Emirates Pharmacy Society
Pursuit of the greater good in pharmacy”



Nadia Bukhari, founder of NAWP Pakistan and FIP Lead, Gender Equity & Diversity
Gender equity — Addressing the elephant in the room in Pakistan 


Paula DeCola



Second blog was written by Paula Decola, who recently retired from 33 years at Pfizer
Patient engagement: A prescription for success in medicines development




Read the first blog post by Carmen Peña, FIP's immediate past president. 
From Community Pharmacist to FIP President


“Woman on a mission”

By Manjiri Sandeep Gharat, FIP vice president and vice president and chairperson of the Community Pharmacy Division of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association.

I started my career as an academician in a pharmacy college in 1996. If I had remained in academia, I might not have realised the imbalance in gender distribution in pharmacy practice because academia always has seen good female representation at all levels. But I was destined to take a different path. The restlessness (well, I call it positive restlessness) that I had within me couldn’t let me stay confined to academia. I could not get into the comfort zone. What was I restless about? My observations during my three-year stay in the USA in the early 1990s made me compare and realise two facts: one, how underdeveloped the community pharmacy practice was in India and, two, how low health literacy was in our society. I am grateful that this realisation shaped my future professional career. The social aim of our profession had always attracted me, and I embarked on some meaningful work that let me realise this potential for good.

I started a community awareness campaign through public lectures and print media about responsible use of medicines. Around the same time, I was invited as an expert by pharmacy councils and chemist associations for community pharmacists’ training programmes. My desire to work for the transformation of community pharmacy got good direction and, though it was really challenging to manage multiple fronts, i.e., home, college and increasing professional activities, I never looked back. The Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA), gave me numerous opportunities and one of the earliest and the most significant project was the “TB fact card” that I led since 2005. My dream of expanding the scope of practice and engaging pharmacists in public health made me work passionately. I took every opportunity that came my way, devoted myself fully to it and, slowly without even realising it, I started working locally, nationally and internationally as well. In 2012, I became the first woman vice-president of the IPA in its more than 75 years of history.

I had never looked at myself or had dreamt of such leadership roles; I can say that I owe my career progress to many men who realised the potential and appetite in me, gave me opportunities and generously supported me all the way. I am truly grateful to my mentors and colleagues because of whom I could contribute to society and the profession at least in a small way. And how can I forget my two men at home? My husband and son, who always understandingly adjusted with my crazy schedules. Apart from the opportunities and support which came mainly from many men, I was largely inspired by women leaders, especially those that I met at FIP Congresses since my early career days. Through them, I also learned how a woman should inspire and encourage other women to climb the career ladder. Needless to say I use these learnings in every possible way.

During this journey, in most meetings and seminars, women pharmacists used to be very few or non-existent. Community pharmacy has always been a male-dominated sector in India. Slowly this picture is changing and the number of female pharmacists is steadily increasing.

I have enjoyed my womanhood and although on some occasions I did feel the male dominance in some professional circles, my conviction has been that our sincerity, purity of purpose and hard work speak for us, which takes us beyond gender. Women must believe in themselves, must be courageous identifying and grasping opportunities. God helps those who help themselves is my mantra. Today when my female students or junior colleagues say, “You are my role model, I want to be like you,” I feel so happy and humbled.

In the early stages of my career, due to the innovative work on the pharmacists’ TB project, a national newspaper featured me as a “Woman on a mission”. This title is engraved in my brain and at every weak moment or at every obstacle I am reminded of it, and it tells me ”Well you have no choice lady, there is so much more work to do. You are on a mission. Keep going!”


Delivered by Women, Led by Men: A Gender and Equity Analysis of the Global Health and Social Workforce co-produced by WHO, GHWN and Women in Global Health

Interview with one of the world’s top pharmaceutical scientists. The Times Higher Education ranked Maria Alonso, professor of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), among the top 10 in pharmacology in 2010. She was the only woman named.

FIP’s first “FIP-EquityRx Collection: Inclusion for all, equity for all”. The FIP-EquityRx Collection is a unique compilation of global evidence, policy initiatives and opinion pieces focusing on a selected FIP and pharmacy priority programme of work. In 2020, FIP will expand the scope of its equity programme beyond gender and diversity balances, to include equity in access to care and all that it encompasses. 

Last update 8 March 2021

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