Menu
  • Join
  • Login
  • Contact
 

FIPWiSE toolkit for positive practice environments for women in science and education

Nilhan Uzman, FIP Lead for Education Policy and Implementation and Lead for FIPWiSE Programme, The Netherlands

Dr. Aysu Selcuk, FIP Educational Partnerships Coordinator and FIPWiSE Toolkit Project Coordinator;  Lecturer, Ankara University, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Turkey

Prof. Claire Thompson, Chair, FIPWiSE and CEO, Agility Life Sciences, United Kingdom

Dr. Catherine Duggan, CEO, FIP, The Netherlands

By Dr Catherine Duggan, FIP CEO, The Netherlands

In our working lives, the places we work are as important as the people we work with and the job itself. When an environment is supportive, enabling and collaborative, we can all thrive. When an environment is neither all or is none of these things, we can deteriorate and our productivity, along with our well-being can suffer. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many of us were unable to enter our usual work environments, adapting our online communities and ways of working was essential to ensure we thrived.

Once of the biggest benefits of being a CEO in a federation such as FIP is the ability to collaborate and grow alliances, friendships and mutual work for the benefit of all. I draw upon three such alliances. The first is FIP being a member of WHPA — the World Health Professions Alliance. The WHPA brings together the global organisations representing the world’s dentists, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists and physicians and speaks for more than 41 million healthcare professionals in more than 130 countries. The WHPA works to improve global health and the quality of patient care, and facilitates collaboration among the health professions and major stakeholders.

Since becoming FIP CEO in 2018, I have benefited hugely from working with CEOs from four other health professions and, upon reflection, even more so during the pandemic. Many of the initiatives we have been focusing on since I joined FIP suddenly came into their own and their relevance was heightened because of the pandemic. One such programme of work was the Positive Practice Environment (PPE) work. Of course, “PPE” took on a very different importance as shorthand for “personal protective equipment”, a vital mainstay of all health professions, but the PPE programme became equally relevant and essential as the months progressed. Some very practical and feasible lessons were initiated for us all, from understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the workplace, its organisational climate and working conditions to celebrating success — from supporting effective strategies that promote resilient and sustainable health systems to joining with others, raising awareness and building alliances to make a change and to make a difference. 

In an interview in this toolkit, Howard Catton, 2021 WHPA chair and CEO of the International Council of Nurses, Switzerland, recommends leveraging existing relationships with international organisations to raise the visibility and profile of the need for positive practice environments and this seems so timely as we consider the implications for the WHPA’s PPE campaign across FIP. 

The second alliance, friendship and mutual work for the benefit of all I draw upon is that which we have forged with Women in Global Health (WGH). In an interview in this toolkit, Dr Roopa Dhatt, WGH executive director from the United States of America, emphasises that we do not need to “fix women” to fit into systems and policies modelled on men; instead we need to fix discriminatory systems and cultures that put obstacles in the career paths of women. FIP has been a member of the World Health Organization-WGH Global Health Workforce Network Gender Hub, since 2018, and together we are striving to fix systems that do not serve women through addressing gender equity and diversity inequalities in pharmaceutical practice, science and workforce. Enabling positive practice environments for women in science and education is our attempt to do so. 

The third alliance I draw upon is FIP-WiSE (Women in Science and Education). FIP-WiSE is an initiative that has grown from a need to support and enable women across all stages of their career across all areas and sectors of science and education. This group emerged from the Pharmaceutical Workforce Development Goal (PWDG) 10 (Gender diversity and balances) which highlighted the disparity across science and education in terms of women in leadership roles, visible to us all. As the work on the FIP Development Goals (DGs) built on and extended the PWDGs, goal 10 too expanded to reflect equity and equality issues across all demographics — age, ethnicity, income levels, disease states and gender to name a few. The place of FIP-WiSE became more secure and focused FIP minds on creating useful, practical and essential spaces, places and resources for all women in science and education with the fundamental aim that these are not limited to women, but available to all. It seemed essential to consider how the work of the WHPA could be supportive of the emerging findings that environments across science and education were not always positive, nurturing, supportive and enabling; neither were there the tools to hand to support women in said workplaces to find a way through. So, the WHPA’s PPE campaign was adapted to the needs of the FIP-WISE community. 

Through the alliance forged by our five professions, the supportive campaign on PPE for all across all workplaces seemed ideally placed to support our initiatives for women in science and education and, ultimately, to benefit all across the pharmacy profession. Sometimes the useful tools we develop in one area can support another area where the need becomes apparent, and a further alliance is created. As fundamental as the 17United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are to us all, we know that creating the environment for sustainable development is key if we are to flourish, even more so following a pandemic. And following a pandemic, as we take time to find our place in the world and work, we will need tools and toolkits that can enable, support and empower us, especially when the environment is less supportive and less positive than we would like. 

Creating new alliances through existing alliances during a time of such crisis feels very important and the foreword of such a collaborative toolkit such as this is a very good place to acknowledge the strengths of alliances, the power of collaborations and the benefit of support FIP is proud to facilitate. Congratulations on this toolkit which I know will prove of value to all who use it and take it forward in their practice, wherever that may be.

By Prof Claire Thompson, Chair, FIPWiSE and CEO, Agility Life Sciences, United Kingdom

FIP is leading activities, in collaboration with World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), to create safe, supportive and successful practice environments for the entire pharmaceutical workforce. Building on WHPA’s Positive Practice Environments (PPE) campaign, FIPWiSE (FIP women in science and education) is just one of the initiatives that FIP is utilising to create an environment where women in the pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy education can thrive. 

The FIPWiSE Enabling Workplaces Working Group and contributors from all around the world have compiled this toolkit to highlight the need for, and raise the awareness of, PPEs for women in science and education. This toolkit creates a repository of areas for progression and possible solutions which can be implemented by professionals, employers and policy makers to generate and maintain supportive working environments. The toolkit focuses on education and science workplaces, but has the opportunity to expand learnings across the entire pharmaceutical workforce. 

 of the toolkit is about drawing attention to, and understanding the issue of PPEs in education and science. While focusing on the need to create PPEs in education and science, this chapter highlights the workplace inequities and inequalities faced by women, and how these have been amplified through the pandemic.

delves deeper into five key factors which underpin PPEs, namely:

  • Factor 1 — Equal incentives for equal work;
  • Factor 2 — Work-life balance;
  • Factor 3 — Creating supportive and safe working environments;
  • Factor 4 — Opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment; and
  • Factor 5 —Women in leadership.

These factors were identified based on WHPA’s PPE campaign, literature and shared experiences by WiSE to cover all aspects that women face in their working environments. Each factor has at least one case study from WiSE around the world. In each case, we hear real-life experiences and insight into the importance of these factors in recruiting, rewarding and retaining women in the workforce. 

concludes on establishing PPE in the workplace for WiSE. Here, we propose specific areas for progression and possible solutions for employers or managers (e.g., academic and research institutions and others), professionals in science and education as well as policy makers (e.g., national professional organisations) which can be put in place to create sustainable and supportive working environments for all.

Finally,  supports employees, individuals and policy makers to activate the PPE campaign through various media materials, such as campaign posters and social media cards for each factor. These materials are provided for readers to demonstrate their support for PPEs for WiSE (and for all). We have also included a table of similar initiatives from around the world to provide supportive resources for individuals, employers and organisations. 

Women represent half the population, and more than half of the pharmacy and pharmaceutical science workforce. I am a very strong advocate that women should not be confined by their gender. Whether it is educating the future workforce, or developing new medicines or health technologies, we should ensure that women have equal voice and value at every level. By creating and maintaining PPEs we can help women to achieve their fullest potential.

Success is not a solo sport. I would like to thank all of the contributors to the toolkit, the case study authors for sharing their stories and experiences, and the FIPWiSE working groups and steering committee for their input, insight and inspiration. I hope that this toolkit can engage, enable and empower women to achieve their aspirations, and help to create an environment where the entire workforce can succeed

Interview with World Health Professions Alliance

In this interview, Howard Catton, 2021 WHPA chair, and CEO, International Council of Nurses, Switzerland, describes the WHPA’s view on the Positive Practice Environments (PPE) campaign and how it links with the pharmaceutical workforce, and women in pharmaceutical science and pharmacy education.

What’s the perspective of the WHPA regarding the current status of PPEs for healthcare professionals?

Positive practice environments, which we define as healthcare settings that support excellence and decent work conditions, have the power to attract and retain staff, provide quality patient care and strengthen the health sector as a whole. However, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put a strain on health professionals and other healthcare workers. This pandemic has brought to the fore the very real need to recognise and support health professionals and to ensure an effective workforce. Now, more than ever, the world needs to stand up and advocate PPEs for their health professionals.

The delivery of high-quality health services depends on the competence of health workers and a work environment that supports performance excellence. The ongoing under-investment in the health sector has resulted in a deterioration of working conditions worldwide. This has had a serious negative impact on the recruitment and retention of health personnel, the productivity and performance of health facilities, and ultimately on patient outcomes. PPEs must be established throughout the health sector if national and international health goals are to be met.

In the WHPA’s view, why is it important to provide PPEs?

Health professionals are key to sustainable health systems, both now and for the future. However, the poor quality of most healthcare work environments is undermining health service delivery and driving health professionals away from their caregiving role and countries.

Unsafe working conditions are a feature of many health systems around the world. Unrealistic workloads, poorly equipped facilities, compromised personal safety and unfair compensation feature among the many factors affecting the work, life and practice of today’s health professionals. Such environments weaken an employer’s ability to offer enabling workplaces, and make it more difficult to attract, motivate and retain staff. These factors, when appropriately resourced, go a long way in ensuring an effective health professional workforce and, ultimately, the overall quality of health care delivery.

There are key elements in the workplace that have a direct positive impact on people’s health outcomes and organisational cost-effectiveness. Moreover, healthcare settings driven by people-centred care are considered to be more effective, to cost-less, and to improve health literacy and patient engagement.

What does success look like for providing PPEs for healthcare professionals?

We believe that PPEs benefit everyone — patients, health professionals, employers and managers, and health care systems. The successful implementation of PPEs would be evident where professionals are recognised and empowered, enabled and encouraged to stay in their jobs, profession and country, where employees are safe so they remain healthy, motivated and productive and where they are provided with opportunities to learn, develop, progress and save lives.

Could you tell us about the progress of the WHPA's PPE campaign in encouraging and enabling PPEs?

The focus of the first year of our campaign has been on raising awareness of what a PPE is. Through social media and a series of public webinars we have capitalised on the attention that the pandemic has put on health systems and health professionals to strongly advocate recognition, good work conditions and support for our workforce. Our multilingual factsheets and posters have been distributed by WHPA members, the FDI World Dental Federation, the International Council of Nurses, World Physiotherapy and the World Medical Association, as well as FIP.

The coming year will see continued focus on the mental health of health professionals as well as violence against health professionals. We will start to collect best practice examples from around the world as a means of highlighting what PPEs can look like and inspiring practical moves towards turning health facilities and workplaces into more positive environments.

What recommendations would you have for individuals, employers and organisations on providing PPEs to healthcare professionals?

First, take a look at your healthcare work environment and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the workplace, its organisational climate and working conditions. Secondly, make the case — with managers, other health professionals and patients — for healthy, supportive work environments, through evidence of their positive impact on staff recruitment/retention, patient outcomes and health sector performance. Present it, publish it and talk about it. Thirdly, apply the principles of positive practice environments across your health facility and national health sector, establishing and promoting positive models and introducing supportive policies.

Finally, celebrate success, in support of effective strategies that promote resilient and sustainable health systems. Join with others, raise awareness and build alliances to make a change and to make a difference. Provide more evidence on positive practice environments. Consider a catalogue of good practices in human resources management, occupational health and safety, professional development, etc.

What recommendations would you have for FIP on supporting the provision of PPEs to women in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy education?

  • Encourage member organisations to collect and share positive examples to reinforce the case for PPEs on a global platform.
  • Respond strongly and publicly to reports of workplace conditions that are not in line with PPE recommendations.
  • Make the most of opportunities to chair sessions, and give keynote speeches and presentations on PPEs.
  • Leverage existing relationships with international organisations to raise the visibility and profile of the need for PPEs.


Interview with Women in Global Health

In this interview, Dr Roopa Dhatt, executive director, Women in Global Health, USA, describes WGH’s view on providing positive practices to women in global health and learnings from WGH’s experience that could be applies to women in pharmaceutical science and pharmacy education, and across the entire pharmaceutical workforce.

What’s the perspective of WGH regarding the current status of PPEs for women in global health?

Women have made an extraordinary contribution to global health in all sectors, as evidenced from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from science and vaccine development to health policy-making and health service delivery as 70% of health and care workers. Women, as a majority among pharmacists, have been on the frontline of the pandemic, including playing a vital role in reinforcing public health measures, delivering testing and, in some contexts, vaccines. In some countries, pharmacists have also played a life-saving role in enabling survivors of intimate partner violence to get away from their abusers. Schemes where women can alert pharmacists that they need help by use of a code word have been critical as gender-based violence has risen everywhere with lockdowns in the pandemic. The contribution and expertise of women, however, has not been equally presented in leadership or in the media.  Women are not only overlooked but, frequently, men are chosen to speak on subjects where women are experts.    

Although women comprise the majority of the health and care workforce, they are clustered into lower status and lower paid sectors and roles. Women hold only 25% of leadership roles in health and despite women being experts in health systems, this has also been true in the pandemic. Women have not had an equal say in pandemic decision-making at global or national levels. Typically, national COVID-19 decision-making groups have had a small minority of women members. One study1 found 85% of 115 national COVID-19 task forces had majority male membership. Including equal numbers of women in leadership (with women health and care professionals, as well as people from diverse social groups and geographies) encourages more informed decisions on all policy measures, including policies on lockdowns and maintenance of essential maternity services that impact particularly on women.

So overall we see women making an extraordinary contribution to global health, made very clear by the pandemic, but not yet being rewarded equally with men in pay, in leadership, in career progression or in safe and decent work.

In WGH’s view, why is it important to provide PPEs for women in global health?

Despite applause for health workers during the pandemic, the approach to the health and care workforce has often been gender-blind, ignoring the fact that women comprise 70% of the global health workforce and face different barriers to men at work that need to be resolved. For example, the vaccine roll-out, once vaccines are finally available on an equitable basis, will require a huge surge in health workers to administer them, mainly female vaccinators. Currently, millions of women work in health systems roles, including vaccinators, either unpaid or grossly underpaid via a stipend. It remains to be seen whether mass vaccination campaigns to reach the majority of adults in a country can be effective when based on the unpaid work of women who already have a heavy load of care work.

The majority of women health workers are in lower status, low paid roles and sectors, often in insecure conditions and facing harassment on a regular basis. The pandemic started with a global shortage of 40 million health workers and an additional 18 million are needed in low-and middle-income countries to achieve universal health coverage (UHC). The pandemic has turned a global health worker shortage into an emergency — health workers have been lost to the virus and to “long COVID” and there is widespread exhaustion and mental trauma among them, especially women, who have shouldered the majority of patient care and increased unpaid care work at home. There are widespread reports from many countries that women plan to leave the health sector in large numbers because they are demoralised and tired. Low-income countries are rightly concerned that health worker shortages in high income countries will worsen and low-income countries will lose scarce health workers to better resourced countries.

PPEs are critical for women, therefore, to support them with gender transformative policies and reduce attrition from health professions. Without health workers there are no health systems. In February 2021, WGH launched the Gender Equal Health and Care Workforce Initiative with France and the WHO to advocate the urgent investment in safe, decent and equal work for women health workers central to strong health systems and global health security. We are delighted that FIP has joined us in the initiative as a supporter and commitment maker.

Have you observed any differences in practice environments between regions/countries? If yes, could you elaborate more?

There are wide differences in practice environments for women in global health between countries and regions. Countries are culturally, politically and economically diverse, and vary widely on the resourcing levels of health systems and on the approach to health systems. WGH has a fast expanding network of 25 national chapters, the majority in low-and middle-income countries, which keeps us grounded in the realities of very diverse practice environments for women in the sector. WGH is a strong advocate of UHC, having joined with 160 NGOs in 2019 to form the Alliance for Gender Equality and UHC, which we convene with Women Deliver, Sama India and SPECTRA Rwanda. We believe that gender-responsive UHC is the most effective way of addressing the health needs and priorities of all genders and reaching the most marginalised women and girls. Two years ago a political declaration from the first UN High Level Meeting (HLM) on UHC made strong commitments on gender equality. Since that time, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused 4.5 million deaths globally, has devastated economies and livelihoods and is far from over. We will dedicate the next two years in the lead up to the second HLM on UHC campaigning as part of the alliance for governments to fulfil the commitments made on UHC and continue delivery by the 2030 deadline. The pandemic has been a massive health, economic and social shock but this is not the time to back pedal on health or reducing inequality. There are currently very different practice environments between and within countries, but gender-responsive UHC will be the foundation for stronger health systems to combat future health shocks and for global health security. 

What does success look like in providing PPEs for women in global health?

According to the FIPWiSE toolkit, women in leadership is one of the key factors that can enable PPEs. Equal representation of women in leadership needs no justification in a workforce with a majority of women. Beyond gender parity, however, leaders of all genders must promote gender-transformative policies to realise better global health. Addressing gender inequality in the health and social care sector is not solely the responsibility of women leaders.

Gender-transformative policies are defined in the WHO’s landmark 2019 report “Global health: Delivered by women, led by men” as those that “seek to transform gender relations to promote equality”. Gender-transformative leadership will be grounded in principles including:

  • A framework for gender equality, women’s rights and human rights;
  • Challenging privilege and power imbalances based on gender that undermine health;
  • Intersectionality, addressing social and personal characteristics that intersect with gender – race, ethnicity, geography etc – to create multiple disadvantages; and
  • Being applicable to leaders of any gender, not exclusively women leaders.

Gender-transformative leadership in global health and social care will aim to leave no one behind in access to health and, equally, aim to leave no one behind in leadership and decision-making.

What are the lessons learnt from your activities?

  • Gender leadership gaps are driven by stereotypes, discrimination, power imbalance and privilege.
  • Women’s disadvantage intersects with and is multiplied by other identities, such as race and class.
  • We do not need to “fix women” to fit into systems and policies modelled on men; instead we need to fix discriminatory systems and cultures that put obstacles in the career paths of women.
  • Global health is weakened by excluding female talent, ideas and knowledge.
  • WGH can be a platform for enabling the women most underrepresented in global health, women from low- and middle-income countries, to enrich global health dialogue and policy with their diverse perspectives and experience.
  • Women leaders often expand the health agenda, strengthening health for all.
  • Gendered leadership gaps in health are a barrier to reaching the SDGs and UHC.
  • WGH is most effective when working in partnership and sharing resources and best practice with like-minded organisations such as FIP.

What recommendations would you have for individuals, employers and organisations on providing PPEs to women in global health?

On leadership:

  • Achieve gender parity, set targets and quotas for leadership to ensure that women, especially those from diverse backgrounds, are accessing decision-making roles;
  • Encourage gender transformative leadership as a responsibility for leaders of all genders; and
  • Support women’s networks and movements.

On underpaid or unpaid work:

  • Support gender gap legislation and publish your gender pay gap; and
  • End the practice of engaging women unpaid in health systems roles, ensuring that all women workers have equally paid, formal sector work.

On closing the data gap:

  • A critical first step is to collect sex disaggregated data; and
  • A second critical step is to take an intersectional approach to policy and data collection, analysing the social identities, such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, disability, class, caste etc that can intersect with gender and multiply disadvantage for particular social groups. (This is particularly important in the health sector, where women from minority ethnic and racial groups, including migrant women, can be disproportionately represented among lower status workers.)

On violence and harassment:

  • Take action to protect women from online harassment and bullying, issues such as gender-based violence and workplace violence/harassment; and
  • Support ratification and implementation of ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment at work.

What recommendations would you have for FIP on supporting the provision of PPEs to women in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy education?

  • Intentionally address power and privilege to enable a PPE grounded in equality and rights;
  • Build the foundation for equality, ensuring equal pay for equal work and gender pay gap transparency;
  • Instigate parental leave and family friendly policies;
  • Provide clear guidelines against violence and sexual harassment at work;
  • Address social norms and stereotypes (social norms and gender stereotypes drive much of the gendered segregation in the health and social workforce and the lower value placed on professions that are mostly female; gendered stereotypes of occupations and of leadership as a “man’s role” originate long before people join the workforce);
  • Address workplace systems and culture (interventions in this area in the past have focused on training for women in areas such as self-esteem and self-presentation, on the assumption that women needed to change to compete in systems and cultures designed for men; this ignored the systemic inequality, bias and exercise of power that favoured men for leadership roles);
  • Enable women to achieve by putting in place deliberate measures to enable women, who comprise the majority in the health and social care workforce, to apply for and achieve leadership positions equally and on merit; and
  • Enable accountable leadership (leaders of all genders should be measured against targets on their performance on creating and enabling PPEs for women staff).

Reference

  1. BMJ. Men predominate in more than 85 percent of COVID-19 decision-making/advisory bodies globally. ScienceDaily. Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201001200244.htm. (Accessed 30 September 2021).

By Dr Belma Pehlivanovic, FIPWiSE Remote Volunteer; Lecturer, University of Sarajevo, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Key messages:

  • Positive practice environments (PPEs) enable the recruitment and retention of employees, support the delivery of high-quality work outcomes, and benefit society as a whole.
  • In order to achieve gender equality, it is necessary to provide equal treatments, rights, obligations and opportunities for all genders according to their needs.
  • Lately, progress is being made to increase women’s involvement across different areas, however women are still underrepresented across the wider science, technology and education sector.
  • Gender inequalities in the workplace are more than just statistics; they represent a huge challenge at local, national and global levels.
  • In order to achieve equality in workplace environments, urgent actions are needed with continuous recognition and acknowledgment of women in pharmacy education and in the pharmaceutical science professions.
  • Research shows that women and men are not provided with equal opportunities for career growth due to the fact that women receive less co-worker support and fewer opportunities for involvement in mentoring programmes, training and networking. Institutions and leading organisations should offer guidelines and strategies to promote fair treatment and equal opportunities which will result in the establishment of PPEs.
  • Key factors for a PPE for women in science and education, and across the whole pharmaceutical workforce, are equal incentives for equal pay, work-life balance, creating supportive and safe working environments, opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment, and women in leadership. 

Without a serious focus on the global health workforce crisis, a shortage of 18 million health workers is expected worldwide by 2030.1 Reasons for this are varied and complex, however, the main cause is a low quality of healthcare workplaces which leads to weakened health services and efficiency of health workers. Nowadays, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us face to face with the importance of the need to ensure safe and purposeful practice environments for health professionals. In order to achieve health workers’ well-being and general safety, it is of crucial importance to establish PPEs across healthcare systems worldwide.1,2

In order to raise awareness and improve quality of workplaces for all health personnel, the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA) has launched an initiative entitled “Stand up for positive practice environments”, in collaboration with its partner organisations: FIP, the World Dental Federation, the International Council of Nurses, World Physiotherapy and the World Medical Association. Throughout this initiative, a PPE has been defined as a healthcare setting that supports excellence, and decent work conditions, and has the power to attract and retain staff, provide quality care and deliver cost-effective, people-centred healthcare services. The factors identified by the WHPA to achieve PPEs are professional recognition, commitment to equal opportunities, investment in healthy and safe work environments and increased opportunities for professional training and career advancement. These lead to improved performance and professional self-worth of health professionals as well as their ability to remain healthy, motivated and efficient in their working environments. A PPE enables the recruitment and retention of employees, supports the delivery of high-quality work outcomes, and benefits society as a whole.2

The global tendency to develop a more cohesive and productive health workforce is based on establishment of gender equality in workplaces. The importance of gender equality is highlighted as one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).3 In order to achieve gender equality, it is necessary to provide equal treatments, rights, obligations and opportunities for all genders according to their needs. By providing such treatments, gender equity is established as a leading means towards gender equality and improved socio-economic outcome for all genders.4 Implementation of gender equality in workplace environments results in improved organisational performance and reputation as well as increased national productivity and economic growth. Yet, gender inequalities occur often in different parts of health organisational structures, practices and education.5 

Lately, progress is being made to increase women’s involvement across different areas; however, women are still underrepresented across the wider science, technology and education sector. Also, significant gender differences have been described throughout academic careers across science and technology, and there is evidence that women are publish fewer papers in all disciplines and in almost all countries. There are multiple forms of workplace gender inequalities that affect women’s position, empowerment and career advancement.6 These include the gender pay gap, shortage of women on leadership and decision-making positions, maternity discrimination and slower career progression opportunities. It has been suggested that some of the most harmful workplace gender inequalities for women are mediated throughout the practice and policies of human resources (HR) due to the fact that HR decisions affect payment, hiring, professional development and promotion.5 

Nowadays, there are several programmes, initiatives and movements created to support equity, involvement and active participation of women in health, science and education. Significant activities towards gender equity in health are being made by the global movement Women in Global Health (WGH) which represents the largest network of women and allies in 90 countries, including low- and middle-income countries.7 A pioneering programme, founded by UNESCO and L’Oréal Corporate Foundation, seeks to promote women in science and recognise women researchers who have contributed to overcoming global challenges (L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Programme).8 One of FIP’s Development Goals (DG 10) is the global implementation of equity and equality in pharmaceutical workforce development and career progression opportunities.9 As a part of FIP’s EquityRx programme,9 FIP launched its FIPWiSE (Women in Science and Education) initiative on 11 February 2020 on the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which aims to enable women to reach their fullest potential in fields of pharmaceutical science and education and to attract female students and young professionals into these fields,.10 There are number of national associations and organisations which support female health professionals and deal with issues of special relevance to female workers in science and education. In order to combat and decrease the gender gap in healthcare systems, a non-profit organisation, Women in Medicine, provides education, skills development and professional growth for women in this field.11 Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health is the professional community committed to increase diversity and equity in the nursing profession and provides women’s and gender-related health care.12 The National Association of Women Pharmacists — a network of the United Kingdom’s Pharmacists’ Defence Association — represents and supports female pharmacists.13 Due to the evident lack of women in leading positions across the pharmaceutical workforce in Pakistan, the National Alliance for Women in Pharmacy has launched an initiative under the Pakistan Pharmacist Association with the aim of attracting and empowering women in pharmacy as well promoting gender equity within Pakistan’s pharmaceutical profession.14

Women make up the majority of the global health workforce as well as most of the pharmaceutical workforce.15 FIP predicts that, by 2030, more than 70% of the pharmaceutical workforce worldwide will be women.16 Although men are being outnumbered in the global pharmacy workforce, women are still underrepresented in leadership roles and decision-making positions. This is considered a step backwards from establishing a gender equal working environment. Furthermore, direct discrimination against women in the pharmaceutical profession is seen through the gender pay gap as female professionals tend to be paid less and obtain lower-status positions than male professionals.15,17 Although there has been a significant increase in the number of women in pharmaceutical education appointed to the position of assistant or associate professor, there are fewer women who are appointed to the highest-ranked affiliations and higher academic leadership positions. Furthermore, it has been shown that a gender gap also occurs in the number of published papers, grant supports, recognition awards, speaker invitations and composition of editorial boards.15,18,19 Some of the most important means of assuring productivity and satisfaction of the workforce are opportunities for career advancement and professional development. Research shows that women and men are not provided with equal opportunities for career growth due to the fact that women receive less support from co-workers and fewer opportunities for involvement in mentoring programmes, training and networking. Institutions and leading organisations should offer guidelines and strategies to promote fair treatment and equal opportunities which will result in the establishment of PPEs.15,20 

Nowadays, gender inequalities in the workplace are far from being just a statistical representation of imbalance between men and women; they represent a huge challenge at local, national and global levels. In order to achieve equality in workplace environments, urgent actions are needed with continuous recognition and acknowledgment of women in education and in pharmaceutical professions. It is of crucial importance to raise awareness of gender inequalities in the pharmaceutical workforce and, therefore, to develop strategies to improve gender equity and equality.1,15,21 

  1. World Health Organisation (WHO). Health workforce. Available at: https://www.who.int/health-topics/health-workforce#tab=tab_1. (Accessed  12 August 2021).
  2. World Health Professional Alliance (WHPA). Stand up for Positive Practice Environments. Available at: https://www.whpa.org/activities/positive-practice-environments. (Accessed  12 August 2021).
  3. UN Women. SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Available at: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/women-and-the-sdgs/sdg-5-gender-equality. (Accessed 19 August 2021).
  4. Mencarini L. Gender Equity. In: Michalos A.C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research. Springer, Dordrecht. (2014) Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_1131. (Accessed 19 August 2021).
  5. Stamarski CS, Son Hing Sl.  Gender inequalities in the workplace: the effects of organizational structures, processes, practices, and decision makers’ sexism. Frontiers in Pscyhology. 2015;6:1400. DOU: 10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_1131.  
  6. Huang J,  Gates AJ, Sinatra R,  et al. Historical comparison of gender inequality in scientific careers across countries and disciplines. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2020; 117 (9): 4609-4616. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1914221117.
  7. Women in Global Health (WGH). Gender Equal Health & Care Workforce Initiative. Available at: https://www.womeningh.org/. (Accessed 21 August 2021). 
  8. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Programme. Available at: https://en.unesco.org/science-sustainable-future/women-in-science. (Accessed 21 August 2021).
  9. The International Pharmaceutical Federation. FIP-equityRx collection. Inclusion for all. Equity for all. The Hague: FIP, 2019. Available at: https://www.fip.org/file/4391.  (Accessed 21 August 2021).
  10. The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). Women in Education and science initiative (WiSE). Available at: https://www.fip.org/fipwise. (Accessed 21 August 2021).
  11. Women in Medicine (WIM). Available at: https://www.womeninmedicinesummit.org/. (Accessed 21 August 2021).
  12. Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH). Available at: https://www.npwh.org/. (Accessed 21 August 2021).
  13. Pharmacist’ Defence Association (PDA). The National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP). Available at: https://www.the-pda.org/nawp-to-continue-as-part-of-the-pda/. (Accessed 21 August 2021).
  14. Pakistan Pharmacist Association. Available at:  https://ppapak.org.pk/. (Accessed 21 August 2021).
  15. Bukhari N, Manzoor M, Rasheed, H. et al. A step towards gender equity to strengthen the pharmaceutical workforce during COVID-19. Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice. 2020;13:15. DOI: 10.1186/s40545-020-00215-5.
  16. Legraien L. Hard look’ at gender parity needed as pharmacy’s female workforce set to grow. Pharmacist. 2018; Retrieved from https://www.thepharmacist.co.uk/news/hard-look-at-gender-parity-needed-as-pharmacys-female-workforce-set-to-grow/. (Accessed 25 August 2021).
  17. Manzoor M, Thompson K. Delivered by women, led by men: a gender and equity analysis of the Global Health and Social Workforce. WHO Hum Resour Health Obs. 2019;(24). https://www.who.int/hrh/resources/health-observer24/en/. (Accessed 25 August 2021).
  18. Legraien L. Hard look’ at gender parity needed as pharmacy’s female workforce set to grow. Pharmacist. 2018; Retrieved from https://www.thepharmacist.co.uk/news/hard-look-at-gender-parity-needed-as-pharmacys-female-workforce-set-to-grow/. (Accessed 25 August 2021).
  19. American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy 2008-09 profile of pharmacy faculty. Available at: https://www.aacp.org/research/pharmacy-faculty-demographics-and-salaries. (Accessed 25 August 2021).
  20. Bader L, Bates I, John C. From workforce intelligence to workforce development: advancing the eastern Mediterranean pharmaceutical workforce for better health outcomes. East Mediterr Health J. 2018;24(9):899–904.

Chapter 2 delves deeper into the five key factors that have impact on positive practice environments (PPEs) for women in science and education (WiSE), namely:

  • Factor 1 — Equal incentives for equal work;
  • Factor 2 — Work-life balance;
  • Factor 3 — Creating supportive and safe working environments;
  • Factor 4 — Opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment; and
  • Factor 5 —Women in leadership.

These factors were identified based on the WHPA’s PPE campaign, literature, and shared experiences by WiSE to cover all aspects that women face in their working environments. Each factor has at least one case study from WiSE around the world. In each case, we read about real-life experiences and insight into the importance of these factors in recruiting, rewarding and retaining women in the workforce.

By Dr Ecehan Balta, FIPWiSE working group member; senior advisor to the President, Turkish Pharmacists’ Association, Turkey

Key messages

  • Incentives are important means of attracting, retaining, motivating, satisfying and improving the performance of employees.
  • Gender inequalities in pay are often assessed through an indicator known as the gender pay gap. Although unequal pay for the same work is a very important and unjust practice, eliminating it is an important but not the only step in the process.
  • The concept of work of equal value insists that the comparison should not be limited to the content of the work, but that job requirements, such as the level of skill, effort and responsibility, and working conditions be compared.
  • Performing regular pay equity analysis, determining work of equal value, creating fair reward systems, promoting pay transparency and making industry wide comparisons are possible solutions to ensure equal incentives are provided for equal work of value. 

General overview

Incentives are an important means of attracting, retaining, motivating, satisfying and improving the performance of employees. Incentives can be applied to groups, organisations and individuals and may vary according to the type of employer as well as each professional’s preferences and motivators. Incentives can be positive or negative (as in disincentives), tangible or intangible, and financial or non-financial.

Some examples for the financial incentives are:

  • Salaries/wages
  • Pensions
  • Bonuses
  • Insurance
  • Allowances
  • Fellowships
  • Loans
  • Tuition reimbursement

Some examples of non-financial incentives are:

  • Safe and clean workplaces
  • Vacation days
  • Professional autonomy and empowerment
  • Sustainable employment
  • Flexibility in working time and job sharing
  • Recognition of work
  • Support for career development
  • Supervision
  • Coaching and mentoring structures
  • Access to/support for training and education
  • Planned career breaks, sabbaticals and study leave
  • Occupational health and counselling services
  • Recreational facilities
  • Equal opportunity policies
  • Enforced protection of pregnant women against discrimination
  • Parental leave

A person’s gender is not an indicator of either talent or competence, and this simple truth must be a key component of diversity strategies that reflect the world we live in.

In general, positive discrimination policies have been included in the Constitution of Turkey. However, the implementation is limited and only applies to social services. In strategic areas where gender-based discrimination and inequalities persist, for example, at the management levels of public institutions, in local governments and in national parliaments, national action plans do not envisage transformative and affirmative action policies in order to increase the low participation rates of women.

One of the most important elements of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 100 is its insistence that the right to equal pay for equal work should not be confined to equal pay for the same or similar work, but should extend to work of equal value. The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has a similar provision in Article 11(d), which requires state parties to take all appropriate measures to ensure “the right to equal remuneration, including benefits, and to equal treatment in respect of work of equal value, as well as equality of treatment in the evaluation of the quality of work”.1

Gender inequalities in pay are often assessed through an indicator known as the gender pay gap. The gender pay gap measures the difference between male and female average earnings as a percentage of the male earnings.2 Overall, features such as differences in educational levels, qualifications, work experience, occupational category and hours worked account for the “explained” part of the gender pay gap. The remaining and more significant part, the “unexplained” portion of the pay gap, is attributable to the discrimination – conscious or unconscious – that is pervasive in workplaces.3 While the gap has been gradually closing over the past decades, there is still a substantial gender pay gap in many countries, ranging from a few per cent to over 40%.4 

Although unequal pay for the same work is a very important and unjust practice, eliminating it is an important step, but not the only step, in the process. Where there is extensive job segregation, the problem is not that women are paid less for the same work, but that they are a “secondary workforce”, concentrated in undervalued, feminised work. The concept of work of equal value insists that the comparison should not be limited to the content of the work, but that job requirements, such as the level of skill, effort and responsibility, and working conditions be compared. In addition, it should be emphasized that there is a gender-based inequality in the acquisition of these skills by providing suitable environments and access to educational opportunities. For this reason, the lens of equality should also be used, especially in vocational training.

At the same time, care needs to be taken to ensure that the ways in which value is set do not replicate the assumptions that have always made men’s work appear more valuable. It is therefore essential that legislation should include means of assessing job values which are independent of the employer and existing arrangements, and should require the participation of affected women workers. There should also be the possibility of challenging job evaluation schemes on the basis that they are discriminatory on grounds of gender. 

Perspective on science and education and impact on the profession

Working in the healthcare field requires, first, a certain freedom of movement and freedom to use time. Issues such as having to work in a city other than the one you live in, compulsory service periods and night shifts may cause a person to choose a profession according to their gender. The education of health professions, in our case the pharmaceutical workforce, is longer compared with other undergraduate education and vocational trainings. These features are criteria to be considered when choosing a field of undergraduate education. Women prefer or are forced to choose jobs that are an extension of their care processes. The hierarchy of health professions is established accordingly. Medical doctors are at the top of the hierarchy, and they also carry certain hierarchies according to their specialties. In the formation of this hierarchy, it is of great importance that the jobs preferred by women are cheaper and less supported, even if they are more difficult, due to general social discrimination. For this reason, it is extremely important to encourage women and to activate some incentives such as scholarships at the training stage, especially for the branches that appear at the top hierarchically.

Currently, there has been no gender-lensed regulation in my workplace. In parallel, gender equality is not included as a basic norm in the Turkish government’s official documents or national action plans, especially since 2018.1 In addition, many official documents do not mention the protection of women’s rights and compliance with the norms of equality between men and women. In the national policies and political and legal documents of the relevant institutions, the norms of “protection and strengthening of the family” and “protection of national and moral values” are included instead of the norms of the protection of women’s rights, or gender equality.

Suggested actions

  1. Perform regular pay equity analysis: Companies and institutions can identify gendered pay differences within the organisation — at different levels and in different functions — by gathering comprehensive pay data and performing thorough pay equity analyses. The results of these reviews are critical to gain insights into prevalent pay gaps in the workplace. To achieve and maintain pay equity, the determinants of the wages of women and men in workplaces should be analysed, and whether gender is a factor should be regularly tested on a workplace basis.
  2. Determine equal value: It is important for workplaces to independently assess the value of each job and ensure that the process is free from bias. The ILO guide “Promoting equity: Gender-neutral job evaluation for equal pay” is an effective tool to compare jobs and determine the value of a job in relation to others. Companies should use the analytical job evaluation method to determine the numerical value of the job based on a range of gender-neutral criteria, including skills and qualifications, responsibilities, effort and working conditions, and ensure equal remuneration for work of equal value. In this way, companies can make sure that jobs held predominantly by women are not undervalued or underpaid.
  3. Create a fair reward system: Lack of transparency in structuring compensation or reward packages can worsen the pay disparity between men and women. Setting clear and objective criteria to determine reward helps companies check for bias in the pay and promotion process. Companies can tackle the pay gap in compensation systems by setting a threshold, target and maximum for pay increases or bonuses to ensure equitable, merit-based reward distribution among men and women.
  4. Promote pay transparency: Achieving pay equity at work requires greater pay transparency. For example, to promote income transparency, the Austrian National Action Plan for Gender Equality in the Labour Market has made it mandatory for all companies with more than 150 employees to publish staff income reports every two years. Companies are required to report the number of men and women classified under each category along with the average or median income for the respective category.
  5. Make industry-wide comparisons: Industry-wide comparisons should be used, particularly in sectors in which collective bargaining operates at sectoral level. It is known that all kinds of discrimination, including discrimination based on gender, reduce the motivation of employees who are discriminated against. At the same time, these discriminations also affect those who benefit from health services and can act as a way of reducing their feelings of trust towards the service providers. Ranking of health professions by gender also affects the wages received for nursing and nursing services, for example, in which mostly women work. Such a perception of people’s jobs will affect the quality of the job, the expectation from the job, and the future of the job.

Good practice examples and case studies

As an example of performing regular pay equity analysis, Microsoft adopted several measurable diversity goals to ensure that there is “not only equal pay for equal work but also equal opportunity for equal work”. Microsoft has established pay monitoring systems and qualitative scorecard data reviews to ensure that no salary discrepancies arise. Microsoft’s base pay among women and men of all races in the United States varies by less than 0.5%.4

For creating a fair reward system, Google’s initiative could be held up as a good practice intervention. It has promoted gender diversity by encouraging women to negotiate. The Google analytics system identified its reward model, based on self-nomination, as a major barrier resulting in fewer women being promoted. Fewer women advocated for themselves as they often encountered pushback. To address this issue, Google organised workshops for its female leaders stressing that they were expected to self-promote and highlighting strategies to do so. As a result, Google has successfully closed the gender gap in promotions.6

For developing career opportunities for women, the case of Griffith University, Queensland, Australia, is another good practice intervention. To address a persistent gender imbalance in senior management roles, Griffith University has been working to increase the number of women entering leadership roles by developing the leadership skills of existing staff.8,9

  1. Fredman S. Background Paper For The  World Development Report 2013 Anti-discrimination laws and work in the developing world: A thematic overview;  S. Fredman Literature Review on the Enforcement of ILO Convention 100: Report prepared for the ILO and the South African Government Feb 2013. Available at: https://www.ohchr.org/documents/issues/women/wg/esl/backgroundpaper2.doc. (Accessed 20 August 2021).
  2. Oelz, M., Olney, S. and Tomei, M. (2013). Equal pay: An introductory guide. Geneva: International Labour Office.
  3. International Labour Organization, (2015). Global Wage Report 2014/15. Geneva. Available at: https://www.ilo.org/global/research/global-reports/global-wage-report/2014/lang--en/index.htm. (Accessed 20 August 2021).
  4. International Labour Organization (ILO), 2021, Pay Equity A Key Driver Of Gender Equality, Available at: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@gender/documents/briefingnote/wcms_410196.pdf. (Accessed 20 August 2021).
  5. Sürdürülebilir Kalkınma Derneği (SKD) Türkiye (2021), “Eğitim ve İşgücünde Kadın Oranı Azalıyor”. Available at: http://www.skdturkiye.org/esit-adimlar/yakin-plan/egitim-ve-isgucundeki-kadin-orani-azaliyor. (Accessed 9 September 2021).
  6. Pay Equity Office (PEO) (2019), A Guide to Interpreting Ontario’s Pay Equity Act. Available at: http://www.payequity.gov.on.ca/en/DocsEN/2019-01-31%20Pay%20Equity%20Office%20Guide%20to%20the%20Act%202019%20-%20EN.pdf. (Accessed 20 August 2021).
  7. Williams J. Hacking Tech’s Diversity Problem. Harvard Business Review. Available at:  https://hbr.org/2014/10/hacking-techs-diversity-problem. (Accessed 20 August 2021).
  8. Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), Case Study: Developing Women Leaders. Available at: https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/WGEA-Griffith-Uni.pdf. (Accessed 7 September 2021).
  9. Australian Government: Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Case studies: Research showcasing leading practice in two organisations. https://www.wgea.gov.au/case-studies. (Accessed 21 August 2021).

By Dr Dalal Hammoudi Halat, FIPWiSE working group member, School of Pharmacy, Lebanese International University, Lebanon

Key messages

  • Work-life balance is not the allocation of time equally among work, family and private life, but rather prioritising and distributing the available resources like time, thought and labour wisely among them.
  • Society has double expectations for women. On one hand, women are expected to actively participate in work and contribute to the society at various levels; on the other hand, women are expected to play a substantive family role.
  • Work-life balance improved productivity and increased organisational commitment, while allowing better apparent control over responsibilities outside work.

General overview

Researchers and executives alike have a growing interest in work-life balance, and it constitutes a concern for both men and women with professional careers.1 By definition, work-life balance is an individual’s ability to meet their work and family commitments, as well as other non-work responsibilities, activities, and roles in different life sectors, in addition to the relations between work and family obligations. It may be additionally defined as satisfaction and proper functioning at work and home with minimum role conflict.2 In a more applicable aspect, work-life balance implies being able to satisfactorily fulfil the demands of three basic areas: work, family and private life. Work-life balance is not the allocation of time equally among these areas; rather, it is prioritising and distributing available resources like time, thought, and labour wisely among them.3 Simply stated, work-life balance is a concept that is both complex to define and difficult to achieve.4

Nowadays, work-life balance seems hard to achieve, with fears over job losses and advances in technology that have made workers accessible round the clock. However, compounding stress from a never-ending workday is damaging, and can seriously hurt relationships, health and happiness, ultimately resulting in burnout, which manifests as atypical behavior.5 Poor work-life balance was positively associated with poor health outcomes such as fatigue, mental health issues, sickness, absenteeism, musculoskeletal diseases, and work-related risks on health and safety.6 These adversities can partly be explained by multiple roles and overload of demands and responsibilities among working adults.7 The gendered realities of work-life balance, in particular the division of unpaid labour, such as childcare and household chores, were revealed and exaggerated towards women during the unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdowns.8,9 As such, it is imperative that women in science and education develop a better integration of work and life. This factor of our toolkit will aim to enhance the understanding of work-life balance for women in science and education, and formulate suggestions for better life satisfaction.

Perspective on science and education

Society has double expectations for women. On one hand, women are expected to actively participate in work and contribute to society at various levels; on the other hand, women are expected to play a substantial family role. Studies have shown that women are always more stressed than men, particularly women working full-time whose children are under 13 years old, with most common stresses being from family, work and the economy.10 In itself, this forms a major challenge for all women, but also for those in science and education, leading to the deviation between employment expectations and actual employment selections. This makes women often suffer from mental disturbances and struggles, and results in an overall decrease in women’s personal well-being.

Women in scientific careers are constrained by conflicts between the normative demands of family and scientific research that calls for long working hours and frequent scientific mobility. This results in poor work-life balance, marital relationship and family suffering, and prejudice for women who choose to establish career over marriage. Some women scientists face constrained social norms that exert pressure on them to get married and have children, while their peers are establishing their science careers. Women scientists also experience inequitable structures of gendered support systems within institutions, with insufficient mentoring, lack of psychosocial support, lack of formal provision of flexible working time, under-representation in scientific leadership and decision-making bodies, and limited ability to strike a balance between family life and career.11

However, the old culture of “breadwinning men and homemaking women” and “farming men and weaving women”, the traditional patterns of gender partition of labour, have changed, and women’s social roles have shifted from a single role of family to a dual role of family and career.11

Impact on the profession

A scientific foundation for strategies of work-life balance should help women in science and education to improve their experiences and realise a positive change in their workplaces as well as in their personal lives. The key recommendations for such positive actions depend on both individuals and institutions.

Starting with individual strategies, a personal viewpoint on work-life balance tips has been nicely presented by Mattock.4 Generally speaking, there is no “magic formula” for women to achieve work-life balance; rather, they should evaluate their status quo, and take steps to improve balance in their daily routine. Among others, some useful tips may be building downtime in the person’s calendar for family events, personal appointments, or simply “busy” time when one desires to remain uninterrupted to finish delayed or postponed tasks. Other strategies are to drop off activities that consume time and energy, to purposefully and reasonably schedule errands to increase quality time with family, to get enough physical exercise and meditation, to unplug from work responsibilities by avoiding telecommunications during family time, and to earn time off, like leave or vacations, which are well deserved by individuals and their families. Furthermore, women overachievers develop perfectionist tendencies at younger age when obligations are limited to school, hobbies and maybe a part-time job. As life gets more complicated, with greater family burden and amplified work responsibilities, perfectionism becomes beyond reach, and with that habit left unrestrained, it can become destructive.12

At an institutional level, in 2021 Liani11 outlined a group of key approaches for a positive work-life balance collected from female researchers themselves. These approaches can be summarised as follows:

  • Institutions should commit to supportive and gender-sensitive work environments, where standard operating procedures formally prevent discrimination and promote gender equity.
  • Institutions should promote family-friendly policies and practices regarding caregiving obligations and child-care support, such as mother/baby friendly lactation rooms. Also, a culture of female encouragement should be cultivated, for instance, by declaring that “female candidates are highly encouraged to apply”.
  • Institutions should nurture a supportive research environment whereby female researchers can discuss and provide mutual support around career challenges, career decisions and work-life balance issues. The availability of occupational therapists and counsellors at the workplace to handle psychological issues experienced by female researchers is, indeed, an added value.
  • Women should be better represented in senior scientific and leadership appointments to help enhance gender equitable decision-making. A mindset change around dealing with social norms, values and expectations shall help women in science and education to build confidence and resilience.
  • Public awareness should be raised about researchers’ work, particularly about the nature of research that requires years of hard work and frequent mobility, for which women researchers tend to be more deprived based on reproductive gender roles compared with men.

Further, a report13 on positive practice environments published by the World Health Professions Alliance considers work-life balance essential to keep employees safe, healthy, motivated and productive. The report outlines an armamentarium of financial (wages, insurance, housing, etc.) and non-financial (vacation, recreational activities, supervision, coaching, flexible working hours, etc.) incentives that support professionals and help attract and retain employees.

According to literature, work-life balance positively and significantly affects employee performance.14 Researchers around the globe, who have been hard at work studying and surveying the issue of work-life balance and productivity for decades, have found that work-life balance improved productivity and increased organisational commitment, while allowing better apparent control over responsibilities outside work.15 For women, the ability to develop their unique leadership identity and successfully address their career growth is fostered when they experience supportive environments and are offered opportunities to balance their diverse obligations of work and family.16

Suggested actions 

According to a recent public health report in 2020,17 governments, organisations and policy makers should provide favourable working conditions and social policies for working adults to deal with competing demands from work and family activities. As such, the agenda of executives in charge of pharmacy schools, research institutions, and national bodies should focus on a family-friendly organisational culture and resources, such as:2,18

  • Flexible working hours and flexible deadlines;
  • Childcare schemes (such as nurseries) and elderly care schemes;
  • Maternity, paternity, and special leave;
  • Working from home, away from traditional working environments;
  • Job sharing;
  • Supportive programmes for the family life of employees; and
  • Revised labour laws to prevent excessive working hours.

Finally, perhaps the first step in building a culture that supports work-life balance is to talk about it. Discussions can take place at an executive level, in focus group meetings, or on a one-to-one basis such as performance reviews.19,20 Such prompts shall help support both women and men in education and science to overcome challenges around work-life balance, and avoid feelings of guilt from having to attend to a family obligation or personal emergency. Overall, these prompts shall contribute towards a better positive environment in the workplace.

Good practice examples: A case study

According to Harvard Business Review,21 in a study of about 300 business professionals who spent less time on work and more on other aspects of their lives, satisfaction increased by average of 20% in work, 28% in home, and 31% in the community. Perhaps the most significant finding was satisfaction in the domain of physical and emotional health and intellectual and spiritual growth, which increased by 39%, together with improved performance at work (by 9%), at home (15%), in the community (12%), and personally (25%). Participants were working more agiler, and were more focused, passionate, and committed.

  1. Wong K, Chan AHS, Teh P-L. How is work-life balance arrangement associated with organisational performance? A Meta-Analysis. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(12):E4446.
  2. Delecta P. Work life balance. International Journal of Current Research, 2011;3(4):186-189.
  3. Wilcox J. Work-life balance. Heart. 2020;106(16):1276-1277.
  4. Mattock SL. Leadership and work-Life balance. J Trauma Nurs. 2015;22(6):306-307.
  5. Bajaj AK. Work/life balance: It is just plain hard. Ann Plast Surg. 2018;80(5S Suppl 5):S245-S246.
  6. Choi E, Kim J. The association between work-life balance and health status among Korean workers. Work. 2017;58(4):509-517.
  7. Lundberg U, Mårdberg B, Frankenhaeuser M. The total workload of male and female white collar workers as related to age, occupational level, and number of children. Scand J Psychol. 1994;35(4):315-327.
  8. Hjálmsdóttir A, Bjarnadóttir VS. “I have turned into a foreman here at home.” Families and work-life balance in times of COVID-19 in a gender equality paradise. Gend Work Organ. Published online September 19, 2020.
  9. Yerkes MA, André SCH, Besamusca JW, et al. “Intelligent” lockdown, intelligent effects? Results from a survey on gender (in)equality in paid work, the division of childcare and household work, and quality of life among parents in the Netherlands during the COVID-19 lockdown. PLoS One. 2020;15(11):e0242249.
  10. Shui Y, Xu D, Liu Y, Liu S. Work-family balance and the subjective well-being of rural women in Sichuan, China. BMC Womens Health. 2020;20(1):1.
  11. Barriers and enablers for enhancing career progression of women in science careers in Africa. Available at: https://www.ukcdr.org.uk/blog-millicent-liani-barriers-and-enablers-for-enhancing-career-progression-of-women-in-science-careers/. (Accessed 13 August 2021).
  12. Lee DJ. Six Tips For Better Work-Life Balance, Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahlee/2014/10/20/6-tips-for-better-work-life-balance/. (Accessed 13 August 2021).
  13. Stand up for Positive Practice Environments | World Health Professions Alliance. Available at: https://www.whpa.org/activities/positive-practice-environments. (Accessed 13 August 2021).
  14. Bataineh K. Impact of work-life balance, happiness at work, on employee performance. International Business Research. 2019;12:99.
  15. Robinson J. Work-Life Balance Research. Available at:  https://www.worktolive.info/work-life-balance-research. (Accessed 13 August 2021).
  16. Brue KL, Brue SA. Leadership role identity construction in women’s leadership development programs. Journal of Leadership Education. 2018;17(1):7-27.
  17. Mensah A, Adjei NK. Work-life balance and self-reported health among working adults in Europe: A gender and welfare state regime comparative analysis. BMC Public Health. 2020;20(1):1052.
  18. Hsu Y-Y, Bai C-H, Yang C-M, et al. Long hours’ effects on work-life balance and satisfaction. BioMed Research International. 2019;2019:e5046934.
  19. CVCheck. What work-life balance really looks like for women in 2020 - Checkpoint. Available at: https://checkpoint.cvcheck.com/. (Accessed 13 August 2021).
  20.  CVCheck. What work-life balance really looks like for women in 2020 - Checkpoint. Available at: https://checkpoint.cvcheck.com/what-work-life-balance-really-looks-like-for-women-in-2020/. (Accessed 13 August 2021).
  21. Friedman SD. Be a better leader, have a richer life. Harvard Business Review. Published online April 1, 2008. Available at: https://hbr.org/2008/04/be-a-better-leader-have-a-richer-life. (Accessed 13 August 2021).

 

Factor 2. Case study 1

Author not disclosed

Could you briefly comment on what kind of inequalities you have experienced or observed in your workplace/organisation regarding work-life balance in education and science?

In Denmark we are very fortunate regarding equity. Denmark has had since the 1970s established structures to assist childcare and care for the elderly, which gives women the opportunity to pursue their own professional goals and a career. In Denmark we have what is called the “frame for work”. The frame for work is negotiated between unions and employers every two to three years and is therefore not set by the government. Only if the two parties cannot come to an understanding will the government step in. Equity, including work-life balance, has been a point of agreement over the years, and maternity leave and care leave will typically be part of the agreement.

Therefore, the structure is established in Denmark. Implementation within the frame of work is to be decided by individual families, and here we still see that it is primarily women who take different care leaves and ask for a reduction in hours per week.

At universities and major companies, there is still debate about the existence of a glass ceiling, and the top leadership positions in many places are occupied by men.

Could you briefly comment on what kind of policies and actions you have in your workplace/organisation for work-life balance in education and science?

In my workplaces, we have an agreement regarding our academic employees. In this we uphold and encourage the opportunity for both women and men to take maternity/paternity leave and care leave. We see that many women choose to reduce their working hours for a longer or shorter time in their life.

Have you experienced or observed any practice that has been implemented in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused gender inequality in work-life balance?

The greatest change regarding work-life balance during the COVID-19 pandemic in Denmark has been that all employees have been working from home for short or long periods. For some this has been welcomed and flexible; for others it has been a deprivation and they have greatly missed their daily interaction with colleagues. It has been the same for both genders. Due to this we will be talking about how we in the future can use working from home as a tool in solving our tasks at work.

Where should we start to establish work-life balance in education and science workplaces?

I think there are two points we should address: (i) making equal opportunities to pursue one’s goal and ambition from a structural perspective (employer); and (ii) taking opportunities to pursue one’s goals and ambition from an individual perspective (employee). In practice, for me, this means that allocation of opportunities and positions should be based on qualifications and never on gender. And as an employee you should also be conscious about what you are willing to invest in your own career and what you want to achieve.

Which organisations (global, regional or national level) can support us on the initiatives for equal pay for work-life balance in education and science in the workplace?

I have heard of internationally acknowledged universities only giving permanent employment to men, and women are aged in their 40s before they can get a permanent position. This is wrong. Therefore, I think that FIP is actually a strong platform to start this dialogue, because FIP has member organisations that are policy makers in this area, e.g., national unions, national branch organisations, and universities and schools of pharmacy. On the international level, the UN could be a platform. Both the UN Sustainable Development Goals and work under UNICEF target equity.

 

Factor 2. Case study 2

By Ning Wei Tracy Chean, Regulatory Affairs, Quality Assurance and Pharmacovigilance Manager, Galderma SEA, and Wing Lam Chung, Principal Clinical Pharmacist, Watson’s Personal Care Stores Pte Ltd, Singapore 

Wing Lam Chung’s case study is shared in this toolkit to provide a wider perspective from the pharmaceutical workforce. 

Could you briefly comment on what kind of inequalities you have experienced or observed in your workplace/organisation regarding work-life balance in education and science?

Ms Chean: In my organisation and industry, the majority of employees are female. I have had the blessing to not experience inequalities and I believe this is due to the leadership team’s effort to ensure all genders are treated with utmost respect. The support provided to women throughout the milestones in both their professional career and personal life is apparent. Women’s opportunities for further education to upskill are not impacted in any way, and if they decide to focus more on their family, it is solely based on their personal choice.

Ms Chung: It is not inequality per se, but due to the job nature, our pharmacists work retail hours that could be till 8pm or 10pm. There is also work at weekends and occasional public holiday duties. Some colleagues with young children may find the hours challenging as they need to balance work with their family responsibilities.

Could you briefly comment on what kind of policies and actions you have in your workplace/organisation for work-life balance in education and science?

Ms Chean: There are policies on official working hours but flexibility is exercised and this is a discussion that the employee can have with their manager. When it comes to annual vacation days, childcare leave or parental leave, my organisation encourages the employee to take this leave without making them feel that this would in any way impact their performance. In today’s COVID-19 world, the lines between personal and professional life are blurred and my organisation acknowledges that.

Ms Chung: Besides childcare leave, my company also offers family care leave. Family care leave is available for all regardless of whether they have children or not, hence it caters to people who have caregiving duties for parents, siblings, children or other relatives. It is inclusive for all, regardless of family status.

Have you experienced or observed any practice that has been implemented in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused gender inequality in work-life balance?

Ms Chean: No, but with COVID-19, a woman has to be a mother, wife and employee all at the same time, with no “official” times to move on to another role within the same day. Due to the nature of my organisation, a typical “work from home” day involves sitting in front of the laptop monitor for a stretch of eight hours. My organisation emphasises necessary employee rest and relaxation. After all, how is the organisation going to run efficiently without the human capital supporting it?

Ms Chung: During COVID-19, person power was strained due to cross-deployment being forbidden among stores. Some stores also experienced a surge in workload and the operating hours were extended. This may have caused a change in colleagues’ work schedules and intensity. I am grateful for roster planning team that took into account respective colleagues’ situations and preferences as much as possible.

Where should we start to establish work-life balance in education and science workplaces?

Ms Chean: We should establish this at every opportunity and not institute a specific department to lead the initiative to ensure work-life balance in the workplace. This should be the responsibility of every individual, not just managers, but also employees themselves. Acknowledging that one should cease working at appropriate times of the day, take a breather and continue when the time is right is the responsibility of every working adult.

Ms Chung: It can be considered in multiple work processes. For example, by removing the expectation that people will reply to work-related communications on their day off or when they are on leave, unless it is an urgent event or a situation that has been already communicated. Managing expectations on working hours and location of deployment in advance would also be useful.

Which organisations (global, regional or national level) can support us on the initiatives for equal pay for work-life balance in education and science in the workplace?

Ms Chean: As I work for a private company, the remuneration of an employee is not tagged to a specific seniority level but to a market average. It is therefore harder to implement and execute the idea for equal pay across similar skill sets, let alone different genders. Instead of relying on a specific organisation to push initiatives, the company prioritises this as part of the welfare and mental well-being of their employees. Equal resources, be it headcounts or further education financial costs, should be transparently shared in organization wide meetings.

Could you briefly describe a good practice intervention that has taken place at your workplace/organisation for women’s work-life balance in education and science? .

Ms Chean: My organisation has organised various motivation sessions by both professionals and internal leaders to empower us to manage our mental health. These are held during working hours which further goes to show that the company places the welfare of its employees as a top priority. Productivity is not measured by how many hours an employee is “present” in front of the computer but by quantitative key performance indicators that measure quality of work.

Ms Chung: There is an opportunity for pharmacists to request a transfer to certain pharmacy outlets with different hours that may fit their lifestyles better. For example, some colleagues may prefer to work 10am–6.30pm so that they can pick up their children from childcare after work. Some colleagues may prefer later shifts, e.g., starting at noon, so that they can take care of family responsibilities in the morning.

 

Factor 2. Case study 3

By Dr Ecehan Balta, FIPWiSE working group member, Senior Advisor to the President, Turkish Pharmacists’ Association, Turkey 

Have you experienced or observed any practice that has been implemented in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused gender inequality in work-life balance?

A much more egalitarian approach should have been developed when arranging parental administrative leave, but not limited to my workplace. There was an understanding that egalitarian behaviour towards women was to allow women to take care of children. However, childcare is also the responsibility of men. Parental leave should have been used alternately by men and women. We have seen once again how important the demand for nurseries in workplaces is. Unlike other sectors, the health sector did not stop and the working hours were incredibly long. The absence of another adult caring for children during this time caused serious problems.

Where should we start to establish work-life balance in education and science workplaces? 

We should be alert to recruitment policies that increase or build on the discrimination that women face due to the burden of care, and it should not be forgotten that recruitment policies that are thought to be gender-neutral may lead us to ignore the discrimination experienced by women.

Factor 3. Creating supportive and safe working environments

By Alison Ubong Etukakpan, FIP Educational Partnership Coordinator, FIPWiSE working group member, Nigeria

Key messages

  • The working environment is a major determinant of the output and quality of work delivered, regardless of whether this is performed full-time, part-time or freelance.
  • The type of work environment is crucial in employee productivity and performance.
  • In general, women are more exposed than men to unsafe circumstances such as psychosocial risks and violence at work.
  • Achieving a safe and supportive workplace should be built through intentionality, conscientiousness, and resilience.

General overview 

Achieving universal health coverage by 2030 is a target for nations of the world because it will enable everyone to access the services delivered by healthcare practitioners that address the most significant causes of morbidity and mortality while ensuring that the quality of services is good enough to improve the health of the population.1 There is no health without a health workforce and there is a growing gap between the supply of health professionals and the demand for their services.2,3 The World Health Organization anticipates that the supply of health professionals may further reduce due to international migration, particularly in low- and lower-middle-income countries. There were existing difficulties in the education, employment, deployment, retention, and performance of health workforce. Health systems are dependent on the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health workers.3 In addition, health professionals are humans and not robots. They have diverse personality traits, drivers and motivations to keep in context when delivering their professional services. Hence, the working environment is a major determinant of the output and quality of work delivered by workers. Furthermore, the type of work environment is crucial in employee productivity and performance. 

The working environment comprises the physical, geographical location and the immediate surroundings of a workplace, as well as the perks and benefits associated with employment. Negative working conditions are defined as the circumstances such as working hours, level of stress, degree of safety, or level of danger that affect the workplace.4

Negative work environments compromise health workforce supply and quality of care. In healthcare settings, they contribute to medical errors, stress and “burn-out”, absenteeism and high levels of staff turnover, which, in turn, compromise quality of care. These environments are characterised by workplace m poor workplace ethics, violence, dysfunctional competition, cynicism, unacceptable working conditions such as bullying, insubordination, insolence, bad manners etc. The healthcare profession is becoming increasingly exposed to acts of violence in both developed and developing countries, and women are at high risk of violent behaviour in the workplace. In general, women are more exposed than men to psychosocial risks at work.5,6 Workplace violence is defined as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or threatening disruptive behaviour that occurs at the work site.7 Women are most prone to customer/client violence, worker-to worker violence and violence at work. More women than men face discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, especially in occupations that are traditionally dominated by men. A young woman with an insecure  job is much more likely to be exposed to the risk of sexual harassment than a mature male office worker with a permanent job.5

However, a positive working environment supports excellence, decent work conditions with the power to attract and retain staff, provide quality care and deliver cost-effective, people-centred healthcare services.8 This plays a critical role in the already existing shortage of health workers globally as it impacts on the recruitment and retention of health workers, hence enabling a safe and supportive workplace helps them to perform effectively.5 

Suggested actions

Achieving a safe and supportive workplace should be built through intentionality, conscientiousness and resilience. The workplace in this context refers to practice environments for women in science and education, including schools of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences. Some steps to consider include:

  1. Preparation for a safe and supportive work environment: This covers root-cause analysis at a workplace, needs and gaps identification and knowing the current situation with regard to how safe and supportive your workplace is. A great approach here is to use the five whys9 — a method that uses a series of questions to drill down into successive layers of a problem. This will guide individuals as well as academic institutions to identify the specific cause of toxicity and negativity at the workplace. This step also covers defining and choosing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals with regard to improving work environment.10 This step is instrumental to all interventions and initiatives.
  2. Laying the foundation for a safe and supportive work environment: This should cover the guiding principles and values for your safe and supportive workplace. Adapting to your own and your institution’s context, one of the principles should be promotion of a collaborative culture which directly influences employee effectiveness, efficiency, creativity, innovation and operational performance. Another principle is existence of trust for the organisation, the leaders, co-workers and patients. When trust is present, every individual can relate to each other as confident and affirmed members of the workplace. Principles that will encourage focus on outcomes, clarifying boundaries and expectations, building tolerance for individual talents and vulnerabilities as well as building a culture of supportive feedback are encouraged.
  3. Building the structure for a safe and supportive work environment: This involves the development and adoption of initiatives, recognizing best practice and applying them with regards to safety and supportiveness of workplace. This includes:
  • Provision of adequate resources: This could include resources for new mothers such as providing adequate lactation room, provision of kindergarten services, favourable parental leave policies and creating plans to reintegrate new mothers back into the workplace.11 It could also include: provision of policies for specific protection from exposure to occupational risks, job security, compensation for reduced employment, and the provision of childcare opportunities; initiatives to promote individual satisfaction such as support of professionals by the management, appreciation from co-workers, students or society at large; flexible working schedules and reduction of work recalls to ensure good work-life balance; and resources that build staff development both professional and educational such as the opportunity to attend courses.
  • Provisions against workplace violence: The creation and implementation of workplace policies to combat gender-based violence is crucial in creating a safe and supportive working environment. This should include: regulations, disciplinary measures; policy and educational interventions against violence; workplace designs that may reduce risks of violence; designing and putting in place procedures to improve the reporting of violent incidents in conditions of safety and confidentiality. A sexual harassment policy should be developed that should define sexual harassment and its forms, explain the zero-tolerance approach, educate on inappropriate conduct and outline consequences. Awareness should be raised among employees on women’s safety and that their health is vital. This can be done through workshops, open group discussions, or other activities that can help create awareness of women’s safety in the workplace. Awareness starts with the implementation of guidelines and laws against sexual harassment in the workplace. Therefore, without understanding the root cause, you cannot stop any discrimination against women. Institutions need to encourage women to be expressive without condemnation. Due to shame, fear, low self-esteem and lack of information, women facing sexual harassment do not speak up. By boosting women’s confidence through implementing equal opportunities for both male and female workers in the workplace, the sense of equality in the workplace will make them fight the social stigma.12
  • Provisions against workload and performance: Existing policies and workflow should be flexible and adaptable based on the capabilities of women, especially in the light of their state of physical and mental health. Reducing workloads through appropriate technology, reassigning workers to another job in line with their needs and providing rehabilitation when necessary are possible initiatives. This includes special measures for performance of physical tasks during and after pregnancy for women.
  • Provisions for workers’ health: Safe policies should be implemented to ensure the health of employees within the workplace. This covers exposure to chemical or biological risks, and psychosocial risks, including stress, violence at work and mental well-being. Mental well-being is as important as physical heath. Poor mental health can be prevented by practice environments that reduce occupational pressures such as low staffing and violence.13 Supportive social contacts at work affect job satisfaction and protect against job-induced psychological distress, mental health issues and health risks.6 Making mental health an institutional priority followed by enhancing mental health support is key. The opportunity for supportive contact with co-workers in the workplace, especially other women, can help women cope with the stressors of multiple roles. In addition, creating physical space for social support such as informal lounges, workout facilities, cafeterias, and other gathering places can encourage social communication and relaxation.14
  • Workplace organisational functionality: Implement systems that encourage safe and supportive internal, open communication to give the right information to the right people at the right time. Encourage organisational culture such as engendering trust as a key element for work effectiveness and competent leadership. Individuals at the workplace should be encouraged to report any semblance of toxic and negative working attitudes through whistle-blowing.

A safe and supportive work environment creates incentives for recruitment and retention of employees. Supportive work environments provide conditions that enable employees to perform effectively, making best use of their knowledge, skills and competences and the available resources in order to provide high-quality output. This, in turn, will promote interprofessional collaboration and improve the quality of performance by women at their workplace.

  1. World Health Organization, Universal health coverage (UHC). Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/universal-health-coverage-(uhc). (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  2. World Health Organization | A Universal Truth: No Health Without a Workforce. Available at: https://www.who.int/workforcealliance/knowledge/resources/hrhreport2013/en/.  (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  3. WHPA, “A Positive Practice Environment, 2020. Available at: https://www.whpa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/STAND%20UP%20FOR%20POSITIVE%20PRACTICE%20ENVIRONMENTS_POSTER_TURN%20HEALTHCARE%20SETTINGS.pdf. (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  4. Dictionary definition “working condition.” Available at: https://www.eionet.europa.eu/gemet/en/concept/9369.  (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  5. Wiskow C, De Pietro C. How to create an attractive and supportive working environment for health professionals. Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/pubrequest.  (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  6. Report on expert forecast on emerging psychosocial risks related to occupational safety and health (OSH) - Safety and health at work - EU-OSHA. Available at: https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/report-expert-forecast-emerging-psychosocial-risks-related-occupational-safety-and (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  7. Penfield W. The five types of workplace violence incidents. Available at: https://www.everbridge.com/blog/five-types-workplace-violence/. (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  8. WHPA, A positive practice Environment 2020. Available at: https://www.whpa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/STAND UP FOR POSITIVE PRACTICE ENVIRONMENTS_POSTER_A POSITIVE PRACTICE ENVT.pdf. (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  9. Root Cause Analysis: How to Use the 5 Whys Method. Available at: https://www.ease.io/root-cause-analysis-how-to-use-the-5-whys-method/.  (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  10. Lesson 2: Problem Solving and Goal Setting - AAC Mentor Leadership Training Course. Available at: http://mcn.ed.psu.edu/~mentor/training/prob1.html.  (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  11. Stahl A. 4 Easy Ways Employers Can Support New Mothers In The Workplace, Forbes, Feb. 2020. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleystahl/2020/02/18/4-easy-ways-employers-can-support-new-mothers-in-the-workplace/?sh=45ef5cca7873. (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  12. Five Ways to Ensure Women’s Safety in the Workplace. Available at: https://blog.vantagecircle.com/womens-safety-workplace/. (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  13. WHPA, Mental well-being for health professionals, 2020. Available at: https://www.whpa.org/sites/default/files/2021-06/STAND UP FOR POSITIVE PRACTICE ENVIRONMENTS_POSTER_MENTAL HEALTH.pdf. (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  14. Taylor SE. Fostering a supportive environment at work. The Psychologist-Manager Journal. 2008;11(2):265–283.


Factor 3. Case study 1

By Ning Wei Tracy Chean, Regulatory Affairs, Quality Assurance and Pharmacovigilance Manager, Galderma SEA, and Wing Lam Chung, Principal Clinical Pharmacist, Watson’s Personal Care Stores Pte Ltd, Singapore

Wing Lam Chung’s case study is shared in this toolkit to provide a wider perspective from the pharmaceutical workforce.

Could you briefly comment on what kind of practices of creating supportive and safe working environments you experienced or observed in your workplace/organisation?

Ms Chung: We have managers and supervisors who are trained in conflict management. Team bonding activities (in-person pre-COVID and online during current COVID situation) are available to help colleagues understand each other better and promote trust. Due to our frontline role and job nature, there is CCTV coverage in the storefront and storeroom, providing an additional level of physical safety and clarification during conflicts.

Ms Chean: There is strong emphasis on a culture of feedback where every employee is encouraged to speak up when necessary. Should there be instances of misconduct or should someone feel unsafe in their working environment, the avenue to obtain assistance and escalation points are clearly shared with all employees.

Could you briefly comment on what kind of policies and actions you have in your workplace/organisation for creating supportive and safe working environments?

Ms Chung: Human resources (HR) have a clear whistle-blowing policy which is disseminated and accessible to all staff. Staff can raise concerns about ethical issues or policy violations without fear of reprisal. Management will investigate the issue to ensure fairness towards all parties involved. HR also provided free staff health screening, to encourage us to take care of our health.

Ms Chean: Policies include a mandate against verbal or sexual harassment, and there is an official escalation protocol should such incidents occur. Individuals are reprimanded or action is taken against them if investigation proves they are at fault , and this is independent of their seniority in the organisation. Discrimination is not tolerated and to err on the side of caution, jokes, whether innocent or not, are discouraged.

Have you experienced or observed any practice that has been implemented in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic which caused gender inequality/inequity in creating supportive and safe working environments?

Ms Chung: During COVID-19, human power was strained due to cross-deployment among stores being forbidden. Some stores also experienced a surge in workload and operating hours were extended. This may have affected the sense of support from the employer. I am grateful for the roster planning team that took into account respective colleagues’ situations and preferences as much as possible.

Ms Chean: In today’s COVID-19 world, a female employee potentially needs to be a mother, wife, employee, daughter and caregiver while simultaneously being physically in front of her computer. This could lead to undue stress, unhappiness and inefficiency.

Where can we start to establish creating supportive and safe working environments for women in education and science in the workplace?

Ms Chung: It can start at many levels. Hiring without gender bias is a good start — when screening job applicants, we look at the skillsets and experience instead of focusing on gender. We can also explain to candidates the work environment and hours, so that both parties can manage their expectations and have a space to voice any queries or concerns.

Ms Chean: As early possible as part of the induction programmes of new hires and on an annual refresher basis, training on integrity, equality and harassment should be conducted. This serves to inculcate “speak up” behaviour should a person encounter such treatment in the organisation. Managers should ideally be trained on how to deal appropriately with these difficult situations.

Which organisations (global, regional or national level) can support us on the initiatives for creating supportive and safe working environments in education and science in the workplace?

Ms Chung: I feel strong law enforcement and judiciary is important. Physical safety, e.g., being able to walk home unharmed alone at night after a late work shift is important to allow greater female participation in the workforce, and lets us focus on doing our best at work without worrying about safety on the journey to and from work.

Ms Chean: In Singapore, there are legal mandates surrounding official working hours, leave provision and COVID-19 spreading restriction measures implemented within the company, and my company aims to comply with them while ensuring that the less stressful option is provided to the employee when possible.

Could you briefly describe a good practice intervention that has taken place at your workplace/organisation for creating supportive and safe working environments?

Ms Chung: HR shared with staff various courses on mental wellness, mindfulness and building resilience during the pandemic. Staff can sign up for webinars from external providers on topics that they are interested in, and dial in remotely. This helps them to receive information on mental wellness in a neutral and safe setting.

Ms Chean: Care packs which include edible treats that satiate our hunger while we attend meetings, books for us to read while winding down and IT hardware to ensure we run our zoom meetings as efficiently as possible are extremely well received.


Factor 3. Case study 2

By Dr Ecehan Balta, FIPWiSE working group member, Senior Advisor to the President, Turkish Pharmacists’ Association, Turkey

Could you briefly comment on what kind of practices of creating supportive and safe working environments you experienced or observed in your workplace/organisation?

In our working environment, although we cannot say that there is a serious and systemic discrimination against women, no positive discrimination measures have been taken so far. In addition, it does not have a code of conduct, which is one of the necessary tools to protect women from violence and ensure gender equality.

Another problem we face very often (in general, in Turkey) is legally demanding written statements from women who have been subjected to violence. According to the Labour Law, sexual or physical violence by one worker to another causes the employer to dismiss him with just cause. Even if women say that they have been subjected to violence, expressing it in writing can make them feel in danger. For this reason, the obligation for a written declaration paves the way for impunity.

Discrimination against women and LGBTIQ+ individuals, physical, sexual, psychological, economic violence and harassment, verbal bullying, stalking and digital harassment should end, and provision of a working life and environment where there is gender equality should be ensured. For this, we must follow the signing of International Labour Organisation (ILO)'s Violence and Harassment Convention No. 190 by all countries.

Violence and harassment in working life should also be seen as a health problem of employees and should be made a part of the work of the Occupational Health and Safety Board. Training and awareness activities on gender equality and the prevention of violence and harassment should be made a part of the health and/or psychological support committee activities that women and LGBTIQ+ people may need.

Where can we start to establish creating supportive and safe working environments for women in education and science in the workplace?

It should not be overlooked that women are much more at risk of mobbing due to social perceptions towards women.

By Dr Aysu Selcuk, FIP Educational Partnerships Coordinator and FIPWiSE Toolkit Project Coordinator;  Lecturer, Ankara University, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Turkey

Key messages

  • The percentage of men is higher in career advancement in medicine, research and health than the percentage of women.
  • When women do not have enough professional support to grow and develop they become disempowered, and their sense of professional worth and job satisfaction will be reduced.
  • Employees whose achievements are appropriately recognised and rewarded, and who have the ability and support to grow within their organisation, are more likely to be retained and add significant value.

General overview 

Professional development includes all of the training, certification and education that an employee requires in order to advance in their profession. Although they meet expectations at the beginning of their work, employees may require more training in the future. Employees can gain abilities through professional development to become better and more efficient, and grow in their respective field.They can feel more confident in their abilities to succeed.1 If they lack a specific talent or the environment and support in which to grow, they will be less likely to stay in their job. 

Professional development can be delivered in many ways. Here are the most common examples of professional development and growth seen in pharmacy and pharmaceutical science:2 

  • Continuing education: Enrolment in formal degree programmes, courses or workshops and pursuing certificates, accreditations or other credentials through educational programmes;
  • Participation in professional organisations: Attending local, regional, national and international meetings, conferences and workshops and presenting papers at conferences, or being an officer, committee or board member of an organisation;
  • Research: Conducting research and presenting the results;
  • Improve job performance: Keeping up with new developments and technologies, improving existing skills; and
  • Increased duties and responsibilities: Taking new positions, and long or short-term assignments.

Impact on the profession 

FIP supports professional development across all settings of practice and at all stages of a pharmacist’s or pharmaceutical scientist’s career.3 FIP Development Goal (DG) 9 “Continuing professional development strategies” encourages pharmacy professionals, employers and policy makers to take action on professional growth.3 From a science perspective, DG 9 seeks to facilitate collaboration between academia, industry and government to identify professional development priorities for pharmaceutical scientists, and for the development of an inventory of professional development opportunities for pharmaceutical scientists.3

According to the WHPA, health professionals, including pharmacists, need health information to learn, to diagnose and to educate patients and the public.4 To keep them up to date with relevant, adequate and reliable information, professional development strategies are highly demanded.4 When they do not have enough professional growth, their work or practice will be disempowered, and their sense of professional worth and job satisfaction will be reduced.4 It can affect their professional recognition and empowerment.5 In this way, their performance can also be discouraged.

Several professional organisations and universities have introduced professional development programmes. For example, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists offers multidisciplinary professional development for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare professionals.5 The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy developed  traineeships, practice-based activities, and certificate programmes to provide additional knowledge and skills for pharmacists’ professional growth.6

Both women and men have career aspirations. Thus, equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment should be given for both women and men in such programmes.7 

The WHO’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 is focused on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.8 According to UN data, women account for 70% of health and social care workers9 and are at the front line of the fight against COVID-19.9 However, they are less likely to be in leadership positions. Despite the improvements in women’s leadership, it is far from reaching full gender equality.9 It is well known that the percentage of men is higher in career advancement in medicine, research and health than the percentage of women.11 Moreover, women receive less mentoring and, thus, are less likely to be involved in senior roles.11 Women are underrepresented in major roles and get paid less.11 For example, the national gender pay gap is stated to be 15–20% in Australia.11 These factors highlight the need for women’s professional development, recognition and empowerment in science and education.

Perspective on science and education and good practice examples

Oosten et al developed a leadership programme for women’s innovative professional growth, especially for women in science, engineering and mathematics.10 They provide knowledge, tools and a supportive learning environment for women so that they can navigate, achieve and catalyse organisational change and in male-dominated and technology-driven organisations.10 More than 50 women have completed the programme in the past three years, and researchers received positive feedback about it.10 Based on participants’ testimonials, 40% of the women received a promotion within 12 months after completing the programme.10

Wozniak et al implemented a dual-mentorship model of professional development for women working in healthcare.11 Perspectives from mentor to mentee were shared during a 12-month period.11 Mentees stated improvement in their confidence and workplace interconnectedness.11 At the end of the study a framework was developed to improve career satisfaction, institutional productivity and supporting a diverse workforce in regional or resource-poor settings.11 The authors state that the programme is promising in provision of an interdisciplinary environment and professional networking.11 It specifically contributes to women’s career development, job satisfaction and regional workforce retention.11

In collaboration with FIP Young Pharmacists Group, FIPWiSE pursues a mentorship programme to support young women professionals by recognising the gender-specific challenges they face in areas of pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy education.12 This is a nine-month programme providing a variety of mentors from academia, science and practice. Recently, 11 mentors reached out to young pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists who are developing their careers.12  If we talk about and support professional development at younger ages, it is likely to increase their potential to achieve senior positions.

Granowski and Burnham developed a survey about women’s professional development at a pathology department in the USA.13 Based on their questionnaire and interactions with the women, they provided a list of recommendations for those who would like to create professional development programmes for women. The following recommendations are applicable for women in academia and education:13

  • Getting public and financial support from departmental and divisional leadership;
  • Alerting departmental and divisional leadership to the success of the professional development programme;
  • Organising meetings at a time that minimises interference with family responsibilities or work obligations;
  • Discussing topics that are geared specifically toward  women’s professional development;
  • Fostering a safe and supportive environment where women can share problems and seek advice;
  • Allowing participants to help direct the content to maximise benefit; and
  • Considering inclusion of  journal articles and books for focused discussions.

In conclusion, it is clear that women need professional development programmes during their careers. Such programmes will increase women’s representation in senior positions. Women will feel empowered and will build professional self-worth, which, in turn, will bring job satisfaction and motivation. Employers and policy makers should make professional development procedures and opportunities within universities and pharmaceutical science organisations equal for all. Professionals should seek equal access to education, specialisations and career development. 

  1. What is professional development and why it is important. Available at: https://www.ahaworldcampus.com/b/what-is-professional-development. (Accessed 10 September 2021).
  2. Buffalo State College Human Resource Management. Available at: https://hr.buffalostate.edu/professional-development-examples. (Accessed 10 September 2021).
  3. International Pharmaceutical Federation. FIP Development Goals: Transforming Global Pharmacy. The Hague: FIP,2020.
  4. World Health Professional Alliances Campaign Booklet. Available at: https://www.whpa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/CAMPAIGN%20BOOKLET_NATIONAL%20ASSOCIATIONS.pdf. (Accessed 10 September 2021).
  5. American Society of Health System Pharmacists Professional Development. Available at: https://www.ashp.org/professional-development?loginreturnUrl=SSOCheckOnly. (Accessed 10 September 2021).
  6. American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Shord SS, Schwinghammer TL, Badowski M, et al. Desired professional development pathways for clinical pharmacists. Pharmacotherapy. 2013;33(4):e34-42.
  7. Bhalalusesa E. Women's Career and Professional Development: Experiences and challenges, Gender and Education. 1998;10(1):21-33.
  8. United Nations Gender Equality. Available at: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/. (Accessed 10 September 2021).
  9. United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Available at: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/E_Infographic_05.pdf. (Accessed 10 September 2021).
  10. Van Oosten EB, Buse K, Bilimoria D. The Leadership lab for women: Advancing and retaining Women in STEM through professional development. Front Psychol. 2017;15(8):2138.
  11. Wozniak TM, Miller E, Williams KJ, et al. Championing women working in health across regional and rural Australia - a new dual-mentorship model. BMC Med Educ. 2020;20(1):299.
  12. FIPWiSE Mentorship Program. Available at: https://www.fip.org/fipwise. (Accessed 10 September 2021).
  13. Gronowski AM, Burnham C-AD.Creation of a professional development program for women in a major US Medical School Pathology Department. The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine. 2018;3:498–506.

 

Factor 4. Case study 1

By Lynette R. Bradley-Baker and Lucinda L. Maine, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, United States of America

Could you briefly comment on what kind of unequal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment you experienced or observed in your workplace/organisation?

There are two types of professional development available to staff members of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), namely, tuition reimbursement and professional development. While both opportunities are available to all staff members, regardless of their gender, only one opportunity is awarded per staff member per year. In addition, there is a maximum annual reimbursement allocated for tuition reimbursement, which is based on the US government Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax free limit,1 whereas the professional development opportunity that may be approved can be higher than the amount granted for tuition reimbursement. 

Could you briefly comment on what kind of policies and actions you have in your workplace/organisation for equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment in education and science?

The AACP system is gender neutral — it is the same process for all AACP staff seeking professional development and tuition reimbursement opportunities. It is done at the same time every year (at the point of generating the association’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year). The same form is utilised for both requests, which includes a full description of the meeting or course, the purpose, rationale or relationship to the staff member’s position or development goal, and cost (including any travel-related expenses).

Have you experienced or observed any practice that has been implemented in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic which caused gender inequality/inequity in opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment?

There have been no observations of this type during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where should we start to establish equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment in education and science workplaces?

One transparent system for professional development, recognition and empowerment should be communicated to staff and spelled out in human resources policies and procedures manuals. In addition, there should be an allocation in the yearly budget for staff professional development, recognition and empowerment opportunities that is set by senior management and approved by the board of directors. 

Which organisations (global, regional or national level) can support us on the initiatives for equal pay for equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment in education and science in the workplace?

We are struck by the emphasis that the WHO has placed on equity and it they may not be able to dictate practices at these levels, its guidance does have an impact. In the USA, there are laws, regulations and other policies related to salary and benefit equity. Better enforcement would make a significant difference on addressing inequities. 

Could you briefly describe a good practice intervention that has taken place at your workplace/organisation for women’s equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment in education and science? .

There have been professional development opportunities granted to AACP staff members focused on leadership development. A recent example provided to AACP senior vice president Lynette Bradley-Baker in January 2020 (prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic) is “Leading for organizational impact: The looking glass experience”, a programme sponsored by the Center of Creative Leadership.2 This week-long immersion course provided short-term and long-term strategic insight into leading within an organisation through a comprehensive, global, day-in-the-life business simulation. The programme provided many opportunities for reflection, providing and receiving feedback, and developing individual and organisational goals influenced by continued leadership progression.

References

  1. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS):  Tax Benefits for Education:  Information Centre. Available at: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-benefits-for-education-information-center. (Accessed 4 August 2021).
  2. Center for Creative Leadership.  Available at: https://www.ccl.org/. (Accessed 4 August 2021).

 

Factor 4. Case study 2

By Audrey Clarissa, Ikatan Apoteker Indonesia, Indonesia 

Could you briefly comment on what kind of unequal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment you experienced or observed in your workplace/organisation? 

As we live in Asia, men are generally perceived to have higher status than women. Many times, many organisations prefer to have male workers than female workers because they will not take maternity leave or ask for any sudden leave due to their children. Therefore, most women who are successful in their career are single or childless. These considerations will limit opportunities for women in their careers.

Could you briefly comment on what kind of policies and actions you have in your workplace/organisation for equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment in education or science? 

In my organization, we do not treat our workers based on their gender. We believe that everyone is equal therefore we have policies where every single person is valued based on their competence and performance. Everyone has the same right to be leader. When we were looking for department heads we had candidates from both genders and many times the ones who got the positions were females. It is purely based on their capability in leading the department. Currently, we have 12 leadership positions, nine of which are led by women. 

Have you experienced or observed any practice that has been implemented in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic which caused gender inequality/inequity in opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment?

It happened once before the COVID-19 pandemic in my previous workplace where I needed to conduct a site visit, but I was not allowed to go because I am a woman. The company did not treat female workers differently, but they had to take that decision to protect me. The site visit was in the rural area, and the company was concerned about my safety as a female worker. My company took the decision to not to send me to the site visit to protect me. Due to this, I was considered not to be the most suitable person to get the promotion as one of the responsibilities is to regularly visit the rural area. 

Where should we start to establish equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment in education and science workplaces?

I think, most importantly, to establish equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment we should start with ourselves. Women should not look down on themselves. They should be confident that they can contribute significantly at their workplaces. We should fight against the stigma of being perceived as having lower status than men. Once we have confidence, we will find a way and we will be able to show who we are. Opportunities will come later.

Which organisations (global, regional or national level) can support us on the initiatives for equal pay and equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment in education and science workplaces?

I think the most important organisations to support us are professional organisations like FIP and Ikatan Apoteker Indonesia (IAI, the Indonesian Pharmacist Association). The IAI publishes minimum wages for pharmacists in Indonesia with no different payment scheme between genders. Professional organisations are the ones who know our value better. The United Nations is another powerful organisation to emphasise equal treatment for all genders in professional development, recognition and empowerment. Coming from Asia, I see regional bodies as important place to educate regional leaders. These might not be the main organisations that support us, but they will be the ones we need to influence.

Could you briefly describe a good practice intervention that has taken place at your workplace/organisation for women’s equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment in education and science? .

We have a policy whereby women can bring their children to work and breastfeed them freely at our workplace. We built a dedicated room for women to keep their children during working hours. Having children is commonly considered as one of the hindrances to having a successful career. I would like to show that having children is not an excuse for being not successful. With this policy, women are more confident and productive in their work so that they can meet the targets we set. 


Factor 4. Case study 3

By Prof Lawrencia Louise Brown, FIPWiSE working group member, University College London, School of Pharmacy, UK 

Question 1: Could you briefly comment on what kind of unequal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment you experienced or observed in your workplace/organisation? 

Pharmacy has grown to become an increasingly female-dominated workforce, particularly for those working in frontline patient-facing environments. The higher education sector, however, could be described as having been a historically more male-dominated in its academic workforce, and that has often led to the creation of a legacy of structural and cultural environments that do not always lend themselves to be supportive of the female workforce within their institutions.

Although women working as teaching or research-focused academics are very often successful in their chosen career paths, they are not always in a position to be able to reach their full potential through difficulties in accessing professional development opportunities, and they may not have their contributions to the department or institution they work within fully or fairly recognised.

Women are more likely to carry the responsibility for childcare and caring for others. These responsibilities take up a woman’s time, energy and intellect, often making achieving a work/life balance without the support of their employer difficult to achieve.

Women may find that their access is to the spaces where they can engage in professional development, build networks and relationships that can result in the all-important collaborations that often will further their academic careers restricted. These spaces could encompass many opportunities from regular social events that happen at work after hours, departmental away days and attendance at international research conferences related to their discipline.

Women academics can be sometimes seen as the “best staff “to take on academic administrative tasks such as senior academic tutors, particularly when these tasks involve student support such as wellbeing advisors. These roles are vital to the running of undergraduate and postgraduate university courses but they can be time consuming, and are not always recognised as valuable in staff appraisals schemes. The allocation of these responsibilities by leaders within a university department can be sometimes difficult for women to challenge if they are not feeling confident and empowered to do so. Ultimately, time spent delivering on these wider departmental responsibilities, although personally rewarding, can impact on time available to spend delivering high quality research and teaching, which will further impact on career progression for women affected in this way.

Could you briefly comment on what kind of policies and actions you have in your workplace/organisation for equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment in education and science? 

My organisation, University College London, has created a policy of core working hours of 10am to 4pm across the organisation and has positively encouraged all departments and teams to adopt it as a way of working. The core hours are highlighted as times between which meetings and internal training courses should take place in order to be as inclusive as possible to all staff and to avoid exclusion of staff. These core hours are well publicised within the institution and staff are encouraged to discuss with those affected if meetings are not within the core hours and if they can be moved. This can be considered as a support to establish work-life balance as well. 

After recognising that women within in the institution were not progressing to leadership roles, several “Women in leadership” courses were developed. Some were focused on women at different levels or job grades and some were focused on points of intersection, e.g., black women at certain job grades. These courses have been running face-to-face and synchronous online courses. They cover topics such as networking, resilience, presence and impact, personal brand, influencing skills and imposter syndrome. Certain courses included an element of coaching or mentoring opportunities which attendees found very helpful in addressing deeper issues related to how their careers as academics developed. These courses were free to staff, who had been nominated by their line manager, who had agreed to ensure the staff member would be released to attend.

In order to support women on regaining their confidence and focus on returning from maternity leave, free-to-access reorientation courses are available and line managers are expected to support their affected staff to attend. There is also access to PACT, the Parents and Carers Together group, which is a pan-organisation network of a diverse range of parents or carers to support them in important issues such as transitioning to part-time working and techniques for communicating with line managers. They also have a remit to ensure their members are aware of the all the opportunities for assistance they may find useful, e.g., how to apply for flexible working.

Within certain department efforts have been made to increase the recognition of the achievement of all staff. At departmental meetings announcements are made and recorded of staff who have gained a broad range of achievements, e.g., research papers published, conference abstracts accepted, external talks delivered. Departments also make use of social media with dedicated Twitter accounts where these achievements are announced with the inclusion of links to any relevant information, papers or to the staff member’s online profile. This builds an individual’s confidence in their achievements and raises their profile internally and external to their university.

Where should we start to establish equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment in education and science workplaces?

On professional development programmes:

  • Organisations should have a clear policy and range of internal courses that support the development of all groups of the workforce. This may require some data gathering on the profile of your workforce and what their development needs are.
  • Consider looking externally to the organisation for inspirational speakers to meet the needs of your diverse workforce.
  • Consider scheduling courses within core hours.
  • Consider delivering courses in a mixed format, e.g., face-to-face, online, hybrid.,
  • Develop a process to suspend studies if staff have issues with work/life balance or personal issues.
  • Have a clear policy on funding for external courses.
  • Consider full or part funding for external courses.
  • Have a clear policy on funding for attendance at academic conferences and how monies are allocated across departments.

On staff contracts:

  • Contracts for academic staff often include a policy related to flexible working.
  • Line managers should be reminded to explore these issues with their staff when reviewing objectives during appraisals.
  • All staff should be fully aware of what they can ask for as part of their university’s policies.

On staff recognition:

  • Leaders within departments should actively review what they recognise, why and how.
  • Consider recognising the wider administrative roles staff take on and how that might be achieved, e.g., awards voted for by students for best student support, best teacher, best project supervisor.

On meetings and networking events:

  • Consider booking these events far in advance to support those with childcare responsibilities.
  • If it is appropriate to the event, organise it during core hours.

Which organisations (global, regional or national level) can support us on the initiatives for equal pay for equal opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment in education and science workplaces?

Those wanting to explore issues related to equal pay for equal opportunities, career progression and parity for women in the higher education workforce may want to start with their own department, faculty or organisation. Reaching out to HR departments for anonymised data on pay differences within the workforce and data on staff at various grades, e.g., lecturer to professor, and how that breaks down across protected characteristics such as gender and race, is a good place to start. It also gives a starting point for looking forward to what actions may be needed to implement to address any issues. Some institutions have this information in the public domain so it may be an opportunity to compare workforce with other universities. In certain countries there may also be organisations that collect national workforce data for your sector and that may also be helpful in benchmarking your department or institution. 

Looking within your own country and internationally at external organisations that focus on issues related to equity in your sector can be a source of inspiration and may suggest bodies you can partner with. An example could be the Women’s Higher Education Network based in the United Kingdom. This is a diverse organisation focused on supporting equity of opportunity for women in higher education. It engages in networking, conferences and online resources aimed at empowering women working in higher education. There is also the Women in STEM campaign that is a based on a website designed to showcase opportunities for women in the STEM sector and share inspirational testimonials. 

References

  1. University College of London Human Resources. Available at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/human-resources/. (Accessed 9 September 2021).
  2. Women in STEM. Available at: https://www.womeninstem.co.uk/about-women-stem/. (Accessed 9 September 2021).
  3. Women’s Higher Education Network. Available at: https://www.whenequality.org/about. (Accessed 9 September 2021).

By Nisa Masyitah, FIPWiSE Remote Volunteer; The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva, Switzerland&Indonesia 

Key messages

  • Despite the improvements in leadership by women, it is far from reaching full-gender equality.
  • Women in health professions, specifically in the pharmaceutical workforce, are lagging behind their male counterparts when pursuing advancement into leadership roles.
  • Despite women comprising the majority of the labour force and earning higher educational degrees, gender disparities in leadership roles remain significant across different sectors of the pharmaceutical workforce.
  • Due to their caregiving responsibilities, women may have to take a leave of absence from work which could delay them from achieving higher-level positions.
  • Enhancing work-life balance within organisations, early leadership engagement and access to leadership opportunities are key actions for improving gender balance in career progression.

General overview

The number of women completing higher educational degrees is rising. They earn roughly 60% of all undergraduate and master’s degrees and about 50% of all doctoral degrees. Within the education and health sectors in particular, women comprise more than 75% of the workforce.1,2 Despite their presence in the labour force, women are often underrepresented in leadership positions. Women in health professions, specifically in the pharmaceutical workforce, are lagging behind their male counterparts when pursuing advancement into leadership roles. Such roles include becoming deans of pharmacy schools, managers or owners of community pharmacies, managers or directors of hospital pharmacy departments, presidents of professional organisations and senior pharmaceutical/regulatory/government positions.3

Women represent over 60% of pharmacy school graduates and therefore, pharmacy may be construed as a female-dominated profession.3,4 In higher education, despite having predominantly females working in academia, gender disparities in leadership positions remain, with women constituting a substantial portion of entry-level positions (e.g., assistant professor) while being inadequately represented in senior-level positions (e.g., only 26% of deans, 30% of full professors, 31% of department chairs). Beyond the academic setting, women comprise over 80% of the labour force in healthcare sectors. However, their presence in the workforce is not equivalent to their representation in top-level positions.4 According to a 2018 study in the UK, women represented 61% of the workforce across various pharmacy-related sectors, while occupying only 36% of senior leadership positions.5 Similarly, only 30% of pharmacy owners in Canada were women in 2019 despite 70% of pharmacists being women.6

Despite women comprising the majority of the labour force and earning higher educational degrees, gender disparities in leadership roles remain observable across different sectors of the pharmaceutical workforce. For this reason, there is a need to better address gender distribution in the workforce and to understand the challenges and enablers for women in science and education as they thrive for career advancement into leadership roles.

Perspective on science and education

Gender-related barriers have impeded women’s representation in senior-level and managerial positions. One such barrier could stem from stereotypical gender roles in society that generate a viewpoint towards women as caregivers and men as breadwinners. The role of women as caregivers extends over their lifetime as they provide informal care for children and ageing family members. Due to their caregiving responsibilities, women may have to take a leave of absence from work, which could delay them from achieving higher-level positions.2

In addition to this, women themselves may not consider advancing their career to senior and executive positions due to the lack of a “leadership mentality”. Such a mentality among women is characterised by inadequacy of early leadership engagement, which stems from a notion that they have insufficient qualifications or the necessary skills to lead. Women may have low career ambition and lack confidence, which results in risk-averse behaviour and less participation in leadership training, and consequently a low aspiration for leadership roles.4

The underrepresentation of women in leadership roles leads to a lack of mentors and sponsors. Without having role models of the same gender who are in leadership positions, women may think that being a leader is an impractical career ambition. The roles of mentors and sponsors are pivotal in encouraging women to pursue advancement into leadership positions, especially at the beginning of their careers. Studies have shown that women may lack access to mentors, who provide guidance on their career trajectory, as well as sponsors, who promote or advocate their abilities and skills.2,4

Those challenges may impact career choice and trajectory for women in education and science. Enhancing work-life balance within organisations, early leadership engagement and access to leadership opportunities are key actions to improving gender balance in career progressions.

Impact on the profession

FIP envisions that 72% of pharmacists in 2030 will be female, and therefore the representation of women in leadership roles will become increasingly pivotal for the pharmacy profession.7 Strategies to tackle numerous hurdles women in science and education must overcome to thrive require a comprehensive framework to facilitate a positive work culture. Working in an environment that offers a positive and supportive culture, which also promotes gender diversity in leadership, is associated with increased job satisfaction and a strong commitment to the organisation.8 Prior studies suggest that diversity in leadership positions demonstrated substantial benefits, such as increased profitability, greater ability to contribute to new innovative ideas and perceived value from consumers and stakeholders.3

Suggested actions

Some steps to consider include:

  1. Supporting work-life balance Employers should create a work culture that facilitates employees to strike a proper balance between their professional and personal lives. Such a culture would involve family-friendly policies (e.g., sufficient paid parental leave to care for children and flexible working arrangements to accommodate shared household responsibilities). These policies would allow women to climb the organisational ladder while growing a family, preventing motherhood from causing a career setback.3,8
  2. Early leadership engagement Professional development and leadership programmes, especially at the beginning of women’s careers, would improve their own perception of their potential as leaders, help develop leadership skills and build self-confidence in pursuing career aspirations to become future leaders. Succession planning programmes would help organisations to prepare for the necessary skills and knowledge transfer as well as identify training needs with consideration for female candidates to achieve leadership positions.9
  3. Access to resources and leadership opportunities The representation of women in leadership positions and effective mentoring are crucial elements in the work environment. Having successful women as role models could inspire and empower other women to achieve the same, or a similar, career trajectory. Mentoring alongside sponsorship and networking programmes would facilitate women reaching their full potential and improve their capability to lead.3 Women should be exposed to equal leadership opportunities as their male counterparts within organisations. Employers should also support women’s efforts to build their credibility through providing training and valuing their contributions through recognition and rewards.9

  1. Warner J. The Women’s Leadership Gap. Center for American Progress. Available at: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2018/11/20/461273/womens-leadership-gap-2/. Published 2018. (Accessed 10 September 2021).
  2. Johns ML. Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Structural, Cultural, and Organizational Barriers Preventing Women from Achieving Senior and Executive Positions. Perspect Health Inf Manag. 2013;10(Winter):1e.
  3. Martin A, Naubton M, Peterson GM. Gender balance in pharmacy leadership: Are we making progress? Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 2021;17(4):694-700. doi:10.1016/j.sapharm.2020.05.031.
  4. Chisholm-Burns MA, Spivey CA, Hagemann T, et al. Women in leadership and the bewildering glass ceiling. Am J Health-Syst Pharm. 2017;74(4):312-324.
  5. Naylor M. Mapping the Gender Balance in the Progression Opportunities for Pharmacists. Birmingham, UK: University of Birmingham; 2018.
  6. Canadian Pharmacists Association, Women in Pharmacy: The Current Landscape. Women in Pharmacy Leadership. Ontario: Ottowa; 2019. Available at: https:// www.pharmacists.ca/cpha-ca/assets/File/cpha-on-the-issues/ WomeninPharmacyReport_final.pdf. (Accessed 10 September 2021).
  7. International Pharmaceutical Federation. Pharmacy Workforce Intelligence: Global Trends Report. The Hague: FIP,2018.
  8. Westring A, McDonald JM, Carr P, et al. An integrated framework for gender equity in academic medicine. Academic Medicine. 2016;91(8):4.
  9. Frize M. Women in leadership: value of women’s contributions in science, engineering, and technology. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Women and ICT Creating Global Transformation - CWIT ’05. ACM Press; 2005:4-es. doi:10.1145/1117417.1117421


Factor 5. Case study 1

By Dr Dalal Hammoudi Halat, School of Pharmacy, Lebanese International University, Lebanon

Could you briefly comment on what kind of barriers you have experienced or observed in your workplace/organisation which prevent women progressing into leadership positions?

In my institution, we have not witnessed discrimination preventing women progressing into leaders; rather, women are fostered to progress and lead change. However, literature defines barriers averting the advance of women leaders. Some are social, like traditional gender roles, labour market structure and governmental policies. Others are organisational, like business culture which may be masculine, whereas women tend to focus on quality of life, and scarcely engage in men’s networks. Some barriers are individual, with women less willing to take calculated risks and wrongly underestimating their abilities. Their career aspirations are affected by traditions, being forced to choose between family and career.1

Could you briefly comment on what kind of policies and actions you have in your workplace/organisation for gender equality in leadership positions?

My institution has numerous women in leadership positions, and the university does not discriminate on the basis of gender. At the School of Pharmacy, many women academics contribute to school governance, leadership, committees, research and outreach activities. They have marked achievements in managerial and leading positions, scholarly work, and service to academia and to the profession. Women in leadership at our institution might help other colleagues and institutions to implement gender equity and promote female leadership skills. Student admission numbers at the School of Pharmacy show that female students outnumber male students, and this is consistent with national trends.

Have you experienced or observed any practice that has been implemented in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused gender inequality/inequity in leadership?

Research highlights that COVID-19 destabilised progress made towards gender equality and, specifically, had implications for women across organisational hierarchies experiencing commonalities and devastating effects of the pandemic.2 For instance, a study revealed that women spend more time on childcare and home schooling during the pandemic than men do.3 Academic appointments were frozen, and academic submissions from women researchers declined, resulting in a disproportionate effect on women.4 Future research should be directed towards women leaders in science and education to uncover the effects of such adversities caused by the pandemic, and d eliminating them as we progress towards the “new normal”.

Where should we start to establish gender equality in leadership in education and science workplaces?

According to the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2021,5 index benchmarks for the evolution of gender-based gaps are based on four key dimensions: (i) economic participation and opportunity; (ii) educational attainment; (iii) health and survival; and (iv) political empowerment. For education and health, where women have made significant strides and where progress is higher than for economy and politics, there are important implications from disruptions imposed by the pandemic, as well as continued variations across income, geography, race and ethnicity. Progress towards closing all these gaps should establish gender equality, which will reflect on leadership in education and science.

Which organisations (global, regional or national level) can support us on the initiatives for gender equality in leadership in education and science workplaces?

Several institutions come to mind, including:

  • L’Oreal UNESCO for Women in Science;
  • UN Women;
  • Women Watch: The United Nations Internet Gateway on the Advancement and Empowerment of Women;
  • Women in Global Health;
  • The National Association of Women Pharmacists, United Kingdom; and
  • The Lebanese League for Women in Business.

Could you briefly describe a good practice intervention that has taken place at your workplace/organization for gender equality in leadership in education and science?

  1. Factors influencing women’s career progression to leadership positions. ResearchGate. Accessed August 12, 2021. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/project/FACTORS-INFLUENCING-WOMENS-CAREER-PROGRESSION-TO-LEADERSHIP-POSITIONS. (Accessed 6 September 2021).
  2. Mavin S, Yusupova M. Gendered experiences of leading and managing through COVID-19: Patriarchy and precarity. Gender in Management: An International Journal. 2020;35(7/8):737-744.
  3. Adams-Prassl A, Boneva T, Golin M, et al. Inequality in the impact of the coronavirus shock: Evidence from real time surveys. Journal of Public Economics. 2020;189:104245.
  4. The disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on women must be addressed | Times Higher Education (THE). Available at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/disproportionate-effect-covid-19-women-must-be-addressed. (Accessed 14 August 14 2021).
  5. Global Gender Gap Report 2021. World Economic Forum. Available at: https://www.weforum.org/reports/ab6795a1-960c-42b2-b3d5-587eccda6023/digest/. (Accessed 13 August 2021).
  6. Hammoudi Halat D, Marwan A, Fatima H, et al. Insights into the positive role of a higher education institution in the prevention of misinformation during pandemics: The health committee model during COVID-19. Coronaviruses. 2020;2(1):11-17.

 

Factor 5. Case study 2

By Prof Ajeng Diantini, Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy, Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia

Could you briefly comment on what kind of barriers you have experienced or observed in your workplace/organisation which prevent women progressing into leadership positions?

Similar to several countries in South East Asia, leadership is more often associated with men. This tendency is believed to be inspired by the influence of patriarchal norms within societies and communities, and even in families. Inevitably, this leads to a widespread perception that men are superior and more suitable for leadership than women. In addition, barriers to women stepping up into leadership positions include cultural norms, such as conventions of marriage. Within the conventions of marriage, women in Indonesia are expected to commit to their roles as wives and mothers fully. Regardless of their educational background or achievement, women in Indonesia tend to believe that their careers shall come after their roles as wives and mothers. Consequently, women’s careers need the support of spouse and family if women are to achieve a leadership position

Could you briefly comment on what kind of policies and actions you have in your workplace/organisation for gender equality in leadership positions?

Gender inequality does exist but, fortunately, the leadership position gap between men and women in the Faculty of Pharmacy as well as in Universitas Padjadjaran, in general, can be considered minor. Leadership positions are focused on the qualification of academic background, soft skills and leadership quality. A particular position might need a vote from the senate. However, anyone can be elected to a leadership position, regardless of gender. Recently, many leadership positions in Universitas Padjadjaran, including rector, have been filled by women, which reflects the gender equality and potential for women in leadership positions.

Have you experienced or observed any practice that has been implemented in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic that caused gender inequality/inequity in leadership?

During the pandemic, where everyone is expected to work and school from home, women with children of school age face a double burden as they have to monitor their children's schooling and at the same time are expected to do their full-time work and domestic work. This situation often resulted in women having to postpone their work responsibility and to experience burnout. Yet there is no policy to accommodate and overcome such a situation.

Where should we start to establish gender equality in leadership in education and science workplaces?

We should promote gender equality by hiring more women in education and science workplaces.  Another important point is that we must push the legislation that alleviates the difficulty of working while raising children. For example, in many high-income countries, parents are given more flexible working arrangements. Therefore, women can play more significant roles in global leadership with a better-targeted approach and supportive social structure environment.

Which organisations (global, regional or national level) can support us on the initiatives for gender equality in leadership in education and science workplaces?

The role of women’s leadership in education and science depends on regional (country) practice in women’s empowerment. Women need to be supported in their role as leaders without having to choose or giving up their roles as mothers and wives. Government should play a role to legislate and enforce the policy for more flexible working arrangements, such as policies on shared parental leave, maternity leave, paternity leave and supporting working carers.

Could you briefly describe a good practice intervention that has taken place at your workplace/organization for gender equality in leadership in education and science?

As a leader in my workplace, I have committed to ensuring that an equal number of female and male employees are considered for every position and opportunity. I also encourage junior and younger staff to progress in their career. In the context of employee benefits and wellbeing, I ensure that there is no pay gap between female and male employees. Salary or remuneration is awarded based on performance to ensure transparency and compliance, regardless of gender.


Factor 5. Case study 3

By Christine Ching Benosa, Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Associations, Philippines 

Could you briefly comment on what kind of barriers you have experienced or observed in your workplace/organisation which prevent women progressing into leadership positions?

The Philippines is a uniquely privileged country, ranking first in Asia and 16th out of the 153 countries with the narrowest gap between men and women in the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum.1 Women actually outnumber men in senior and leadership roles as well as in professional and technical professions. However, this does not mean that all women who want to focus on their careers and take leadership roles in science and education are able to pursue their goals.

Most women in the Philippines are free to enjoy their career growth only until they start to have a family, which requires juggling priorities. In the Philippines where almost 55% of the population are millennials, young career women who are skilled and educated now more than ever are only starting to realise that it is not easy to “have it all” and are often torn between pursuing their empowered ideals, and fulfilling the expectations of Filipino society, that is, to focus on being a mother. This dilemma often occurs in the late 20s to mid 30s, a time when young women just have enough credibility, experience and exposure to pursue higher leadership roles in the workplace, and also the time when many opt to settle down and have a family. It is during this time that men in the workforce easily overtake women in promotion since women are expected to prioritise taking care of their family, and men are expected to be more driven to succeed in their careers in order to support their family.

Could you briefly comment on what kind of policies and actions you have in your workplace/organisation for gender equality in leadership positions?

In most of the academic institutions and professional organisations that I have worked in, there are no written policies that directly try to enforce gender equality in leadership positions, since gender is rarely considered part of the criteria for selecting candidates for promotion. This I think in a way is a sign that equality in leadership is not being looked at as an issue. However, there are several national policies by which institutions must comply that help support women by reducing the issues that pose challenges in the pursuit of leadership positions. Among these laws, notable are the RA 9710, the Magna Carta of women, with key provisions against discrimination in the workplace and educational opportunities, and the RA 9262, the Violence Against Women and their Children Act, which aims to prevent any form of harassment as well as violence against women.

Have you experienced or observed any practice that has been implemented in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused gender inequality/inequity in leadership?

Perhaps the most relevant action implemented during the pandemic that affected women was the practice of distributing quarantine passes when movement restrictions were enforced. The passes, which give the right to go out of the house, were only given to the head of each household, who was generally assumed to be the man.

Where should we start to establish gender equality in leadership in education and science workplaces?

In my country, we are blessed with plenty of role models of empowered career women, but we are failing to support women who also want to pursue leadership while having a family. These women are educated, experienced and committed, but are often held back by the lack of state support, especially during the time that they need to rear young children. We need to see more policies that will address the gap between mothers and childless women so that women will not struggle too much with the dilemma of choosing between caring for their family or focusing on their career. An example is extending paternity leave to almost match maternity leave. This would prevent employers from thinking of choosing men over women who are at the stage of planning to have children.

Which organisations (global, regional or national level) can support us on the initiatives for gender equality in leadership in education and science workplaces?

For most countries in Asia, the picture is not the same as in the Philippines. I think global organisations that monitor gender equality like the World Economic Forum (WEF) — which publishes the annual global gender report1 — can be further engaged to examine the categories of women’s employment and leadership, particularly in the fields of education and science. I think if there are specific criteria that will define our expectations on this issue, it would be easier to include this in WEF’s indicators to monitor gender equality. Also, global and regional development organisations should be engaged because they have a lot of influence over governments to pursue specific policies.

Could you briefly describe a good practice intervention that has taken place at your workplace/organization for gender equality in leadership in education and science?

In an academic institution that I have previously worked in there is regular gender awareness training conducted among students and employees. Everyone, both men and women, is trained to be more sensitive and responsive regarding the issue of gender equality. In addition, most of the professional organisations in my country that I have worked in do not focus on gender and marital status when calling for nominations for positions and awards. Instead, they focus on the qualifications of each candidate. I also think that one interesting organisational culture that I have experienced in my workplace is the concept of thinking of the organisation as a family, where we try to always think of the needs of others and support each other as if we were a family. I think this culture promotes empathy and a nurturing environment that is supportive not only for women but for all members of the organisation.

References

  1. Global Gender Gap Report. Available at: https://www.weforum.org/reports/gender-gap-2020-report-100-years-pay-equality. (Accessed 6 August 2021).


Factor 5. Case study 4

By Prof Chinedum Peace Babalola, FIPWiSE working group member, Chrisland University Abeokuta and University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Could you briefly comment on what kind of barriers you have experienced or observed in your workplace/organisation which prevent women progressing into leadership positions?

The barriers I have faced in the workplace as a woman include delays and inability to achieve my goal in good time due to the fact that, as a married woman with children, I had to combine work and study with responsibilities at home. It led to 10-year delays in obtaining my PhD and becoming a professor. I was a graduate assistant, a PhD student, a wife and a mother. Another barrier is being less respected as a woman, which is cultural.

Could you briefly comment on what kind of policies and actions you have in your workplace/organisation for gender equality in leadership positions?

There are no written policies in my organisation with respect to gender equality in leadership. Rather, women are permitted to vie for any position of their choice along with men. There is no written-down discrimination. However, the voting power of women is low because of their number and perceived low status of the positions women occupy.

Have you experienced or observed any practice that has been implemented in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused gender inequality/inequity in leadership?

I cannot recall of any practice during the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused gender inequality. On a lighter mood, many women became pregnant and had babies more than before. They all obtained maternity leave as expected, i.e., three months. They were all expected to teach online like men during the pandemic, which may have put more pressure on them at home. They did not receive any support.

Where should we start to establish gender equality in leadership in education and science workplaces?

Some of the ways of establishing gender equality in education and science are by establishing mentor-mentee relationships, having role models, and continuously providing financial support via scholarships, fellowships and grants targeted at women — not only early career women but late career women too, because some of them are late starters. Crèches or day-care facilities should be provided in workplaces for mothers. Special consideration should be given to women in science so that longer periods can be allowed for these women to complete their programmes.

Which organisations (global, regional or national level) can support us on the initiatives for gender equality in leadership in education and science workplaces?

At country level, government agencies and ministries, institutions and philanthropists should set up systems of support for women. Other organisations such as United Nations, foundations like that of Bill & Melinda Gates, MacArthur, Fulbright, DAAD CHE (German Academic Exchange Service Centre for Higher Education) and several others. Apart from supporting women individually, facilities and institutions could enable environments to provide better services for women. I also suggest that working mothers and fathers should be given leave during breastfeeding period after the arrival of a baby. I suggest fee reductions for trainees and higher wages for women who may have to cope with expenses in studying, research and caring for the home.

Could you briefly describe a good practice intervention that has taken place at your workplace/organization for gender equality in leadership in education and science? 

One practice that has been a game changer was when I designated a place in the university for nursing mothers to keep their babies with their mothers while at work. This enables them to breastfeed the babies as needed. I recall that one mother who almost resigned her lecturing job after delivery of her first baby is now well rested and comfortable with doing her work as well as feeding and seeing her baby.

References

  1. International Pharmaceutical Federation. Nanjing Statements: Statements on pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education. The Hague: FIP, 2017. Available at: https://www.fip.org/files/content/priority-areas/workforce/nanjing-statements.pdf. (Accessed 23 August 2021).
  2. Royal Society, Mothers in Science. Available at: https://royalsociety.org/~/media/Royal_Society_Content/about-us/equality/2011-06-15-Mothers-in-Science.pdf. (Accessed 12 September2021).
  3. Global Young Academy, Women in Science Inspiring Stories from Africa. Available at: https://globalyoungacademy.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Women-in-Science-Inspiring-Stories-from-Africa.pdf. (Accessed 12 September2021).

 

Factor 5. Case study 5

By Dr Ecehan Balta, FIPWiSE working group member, Senior Advisor to the President, Turkish Pharmacists’ Association, Turkey

Where should we start to establish gender equality in leadership in education and science workplaces? 

In order to identify the problems that women experience in the workplace due to their gendered identities, women should be included in the structures related to the decision making. A unit for combating violence against women and LGBTIQ+ individuals should be established in every workplace. Awareness should be raised about glass ceilings, both inside and outside, which is one of the main obstacles to the rise of women, and periodic training should be organised to combat this.

By Dr Aysu Selcuk, FIP Educational Partnerships Coordinator and FIPWiSE Toolkit Project Coordinator and Lecturer, Ankara University, Department of Clinical Pharmacy Turkey, and Nilhan Uzman, FIP Lead for Education Policy and Implementation and Lead for FIPWiSE Programme, The Netherlands

Chapter 3 is intended to support the following stakeholders to become a part of the solution in enabling positive practice environments (PPEs), particularly for women in science and education but also across the entire pharmaceutical workforce:

  • Employers and managers (e.g., those in academic and research institutions, the pharmaceutical industry and other science and education workplaces);
  • Professionals in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy education; and
  • Policy makers (e.g. those in governments, and regional or national pharmaceutical organisations).

Building on the findings of the previous chapters of this toolkit and the WHPA’s evidence-based PPE checklist, Chapter 4 also provides suggestions and areas for progression for the above mentioned stakeholders to:

  • Assess the quality of practice environments;
  • Identify deficiencies; and
  • Develop strategies to address priority gaps.

All of these activities will enable PPEs to be built and maintained.

Each of the areas for progression and possible solutions imply a set of roles and responsibilities for key stakeholders. Mutual respect and consideration are basic components of the organisational climate that must be established and rigorously maintained.

Employers and managers:

  • Commit to provision of equal opportunity and fair treatment regardless of gender.
  • Perform regular pay equity analysis and promote pay transparency.
  • Promote the positive impact of incentives on staff recruitment, retention, and increased performance leading to better research and education outcomes.
  • Ensure human resources planning and management for equal provision of recruitment, payment and incentives.
  • Offer equitable and flexible incentives and benefit packages. 

Professionals in science and education:

  • Publish articles and good practices, collect case studies on provision of equal incentives and payment to women in the workplace.
  • Consider proactively starting an equality department at your workplace, in collaboration with HR and relevant decision makers.
  • Consider speaking up to relevant structures and line managers when observing an inequality issue on incentives and payment.

Policy makers:

  • Raise awareness about the urgency of the pay and incentives gap.
  • Develop policies and regulatory frameworks for implementing evidence-based incentive systems, fair pay and transparency policies.

Employers and managers:

  • Promote healthy work-life balance through policies and programmes that support fair and manageable workloads and flexible work arrangements, and alleviate job demands and stresses.
  • Provide clear and comprehensive job descriptions and specifications, and agree on working hours.
  • Provide good work conditions, including optimal staffing levels and effective people management.
  • Regularly assess employee satisfaction.
  • Perform a survey at your workplace to understand its strengths and weaknesses, organisational climate and working conditions, considering gender equity and the distinct needs of women and men.
  • Provide opportunities for planned career breaks, sabbaticals and study leave.
  • Provide recreational facilities.
  • Implement policies to protect pregnant women against discrimination, and provide maternity, paternity and special leave.
  • Establish supportive programmes for the family life of employees.
  • Offer flexible working hours, flexible working locations and flexible deadlines.
  • Offer childcare schemes and facilities (such as nurseries) and elderly care schemes.
  • Provide reorientation for women returning from maternity leave.
  • Ensure key meetings, training and development activities are scheduled within core working hours.
  • If feasible, consider scheduling key meetings, training and development activities far in advance to support those with additional responsibilities such as child or elderly care.

Professionals in science and education:

  • Take your full entitlements to breaks and holidays.
  • Self-assess your motivation, satisfaction and performance regularly.
  • Prioritise and distribute your time wisely between work and daily life activities.
  • Be fully aware of what you are able to request as part of your workplace’s policies and information, for example, pay gap data.

Policy makers (member organisations):

  • Develop policies and regulatory frameworks to support employees with establishing a fair balance between working hours and personal time. 
  • Revise labour laws to prevent excessive working hours.
  • Establish family-friendly policies considering different roles of individuals, such as being a professional and caregiver at the same time.

Employers and managers (academic and research institutions, and others):

  • Establish and apply the principles of supportive and safe working environments by introducing appropriate policies.
  • Keep employees safe and secure so they remain healthy, motivated and productive.
  • Involve employees in planning, governance and decision-making affecting their practice and work environment.
  • Encourage open communication, collegiality, teamwork and supportive relationships.
  • Foster a culture of mutual trust, fairness, respect, integrity and equality.
  • Adopt policies that positively encourage the reporting of professional misconduct (such as harassment, violence, discrimination and others), of inadequate processes within the workplaces, or violation of laws or regulations.
  • Adopt occupational health, safety and wellness policies and programmes that address workplace hazards, discrimination, physical and psychological violence and issues pertaining to personal security.
  • Promote awareness regarding cultural adaptability within staff and among employers, employees and co-workers to foster a better working environment and outcome.
  • Offer employment security and work predictability.
  • Ensure employees practise under an overarching code of ethics.
  • Communicate clearly and uphold standards of practice.
  • Produce, implement and communicate a “mental health at work” plan that includes risk assessments and mitigation, mental health awareness among staff, appropriate training of managers, open conversations about mental health, support for employees who are struggling, and routine monitoring of employee mental health and well-being.
  • Provide access to mental well-being and social support services and tools.
  • Build a blame-free culture that explicitly recognises how the nature of the work and working conditions can impact the well-being of staff, and tackles stigma associated with seeking help for a mental health problem.
  • Provide insurance coverage for occupational hazards.
  • Promote a culture of zero tolerance for violence.
  • Safeguard employees against violence.
  • Ensure employees are trained to recognise, handle and communicate with potentially violent people (when applicable in the workplace).
  • Support reporting mechanisms, surveillance and collection of data on attacks. 

Professionals in science and education:

  • Seek help or speak up when needed to relevant structures and to line managers.
  • Make sure you recognise issues such as bullying or harassment or symptoms of stress, find out about steps to cope, and know where to go if you need help.
  • Request assurance of privacy and confidentiality as an employee when seeking help or reporting issues such as bullying or harassment.
  • Advocate safe and supportive work environments.

Policy makers (member organisations):

  • Develop policies and regulatory frameworks that ensure safe working conditions.
  • Develop policies and regulatory framework for anti-bullying and harassment.
  • Establish policies to ensure PPEs, including appropriate and fair duration of deployments, working hours and rest breaks, and minimal administrative burden on professionals.
  • Define appropriate and safe staffing levels within science and education institutions.
  • Facilitate research on PPE issues, such as bullying and harassment, in order to provide evidence-based recommendations on interventions.
  • Adopt and implement laws, policies and mechanisms to prevent violence at all workplaces, and hold perpetrators to account with strong penalties.
  • Establish mechanisms (e.g., ombudsmen and helplines) to enable free and confidential reporting of violence and provide appropriate support.

Employers and managers (academic and research institutions, and others):

  • Recognise and reward employee contribution and performance, for example, through awards.
  • Offer a range of internal courses that support the development of all groups of the workforce through identifying specific needs of employees.
  • Provide opportunities for professional training, development and career advancement such as mentorship programmes for women at all levels of their career.
  • Provide adequate resources, information, tools and equipment to employees so they do their jobs to the best of their ability.
  • Celebrate successes and share good practices internally and externally to boost employee confidence and encourage others in the workplace.
  • Encourage professional autonomy.
  • Recognise the full range of competencies and skill-mix provided by women in science and education and empower them to use these skills and competencies to the best of their ability.
  • Make the case for investment in professional development building on PPEs’ impact on people’s health outcomes and organisational cost-effectiveness.
  • Encourage interprofessional and multidisciplinary collaborative practices to deliver the highest quality of work.
  • Provide adequate and timely compensation commensurate with education, experience and professional responsibilities.
  • Maintain effective performance management systems.
  • Engage employees in continuous assessment and improvement of work design and work organisation.
  • Regularly review scopes of practice and competencies.
  • Offer thorough orientation programmes for new employees.
  • Develop a process to suspend studies if staff have work-life balance or personal issues.
  • Establish policies on funding for external courses.
  • Consider full or part funding for external courses.
  • Establish policies on funding for attendance at conferences, and how funding is allocated across departments.

Professionals in science and education:

  • Focus on verifying, understanding and reporting your information, equipment, development needs to perform your work.
  • Request high quality, reliable, relevant and up-to-date evidence.
  • Request opportunities for personal and group study (workplace, library, home) to support learning from peers, continuing education and professional development.
  • Be motivated, volunteer for and proactively request activities for professional development, recognition and empowerment.

Policy makers (member organisations):

  • Develop policies for career development and advancement. 

Employers and managers (academic and research institutions, and others):

  • Empower and support women in science and education to pursue leadership roles.
  • Provide effective supervisory, mentoring, peer coaching programmes and leadership training tailored for women employees, particularly at early career stages.
  • Celebrate effective management and leadership practices of women leaders.
  • Collect evidence on, and promote, the positive impact of a gender-balanced leadership team.
  • Provide opportunities for early leadership engagement and access to leadership resources.
  • Create a work culture that enables employees to strike a proper balance between their professional and personal lives, including child and elderly care.
  • Establish succession planning programmes to prepare women for necessary skills and knowledge transfers, as well as identifying training needs for female candidates for positions. 

Professionals in science and education:

  • If you hold a leadership role, become a mentor, sponsor or role model to women in science and education to provide guidance, and to promote or advocate for these individuals.

Policy makers (member organisations)

  • Advocate with governments and other key decision makers to close the leadership gap between genders.
  • Raise awareness about the urgency to address the leadership gap.
  • Develop policies and regulatory frameworks for ensuring gender-balanced leadership teams at workplaces, such as introducing quotas.
  • Develop evidence on the impact of gender-balanced leadership teams on business and organisational results.
  • Legislate and enforce policies for more flexible working arrangements such as policies on shared parental leave, maternity leave, paternity leave and elderly care leave.

By Nilhan Uzman, FIP Lead for Education Policy and Implementation and Lead for FIPWiSE Programme, The Netherlands, Dr Belma Pehlivanovic, FIPWiSE Remote Volunteer; Lecturer, University of Sarajevo, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Esther Anyango, FIPWiSE Remote Volunteer, Kenya 

Chapter 4 describes how users of this toolkit can raise awareness on positive practice environments for women in science and education and drive them forward using tools and actions suggested below.

Actions:

  • Chair sessions at conferences, give keynote speeches and present this toolkit at national and international meetings.
  • Collect and share case studies on positive practice environments.
  • Run workshops to educate your employees on the benefits of positive practice environments.
  • Encourage governments and other key decision makers to mainstream positive practice environments.
  • Localise FIP’s press release on the toolkit by adding information about your workplace setting, add quotes from high profile advocates of positive practice environments.
  • Engage with young members of the workforce to empower them as agents of positive change at local, national and international levels.
  • Publish articles on positive practice environments.
  • Create a series of podcasts or webcasts looking at each factor of this toolkit.
  • Use the case studies in this toolkit to make the case to your employer or government to create positive practice environments.
  • Launch a positive practice environment best practice award scheme at your workplace.
  • Celebrate success and share best practice examples.

Download our poster, print and display it at your workplace or distribute it to your network to amplify efforts to enable positive practice environments.

  • Poster

Download the following social media cards (right-click and save image on your device), share and post them across your network (do not forget to tag FIP and add the #FIPWiSE hashtag) to amplify efforts to enable positive practice environments.

  • Factor 1: Equal incentives for equal work
    You can use this text to post the social media card: Provide equal incentives for equal work. I stand up for #PositivePracticeEnvironments with #FIPWiSE! https://bit.ly/3iCZ3g5

  • Factor 2: Work-life balance
    You can use this text to post the social media card: Support work-life balance.  I stand up for #PositivePracticeEnvironments with #FIPWiSE! https://bit.ly/3iCZ3g5

  • Factor 3: Creating safe and supportive working environments
    You can use this text to post the social media card: Create safe and supportive environments. I stand up for #PositivePracticeEnvironments with #FIPWiSE! https://bit.ly/3iCZ3g5

  • Factor 4: Opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment
    You can use this text to post the social media card: Provide opportunities for professional development, recognition and empowerment. I stand up for #PositivePracticeEnvironments with #FIPWiSE! https://bit.ly/3iCZ3g5

  • Factor 5: Women in leadership
    You can use this text to post the social media card: Close the leadership gap by placing more women in leadership roles. I stand up for #PositivePracticeEnvironments with #FIPWiSE! https://bit.ly/3iCZ3g5

Table 1 showcases initiatives from around the world on gender equity across sectors, healthcare and the pharmaceutical workforce. Users of this toolkit can follow or engage with these organisations to amplify their efforts to enable positive practice environments. If you would like your organisation or initiative to be showcased in this toolkit, please contact education@fip.org.

 

Table 1. Showcase of initiatives from around the world (alphabetical order)

Organisation

Aim and scope

Useful links

Academy of Pharmaceutical Science & Technology Japan (APSTJ)

The APSTJ Nagai International Woman Scientist Award is intended to recognise outstanding woman scientists who have been contributing significantly to the field of pharmaceutical sciences.

https://www.apstj.jp/en/awards-en/

 

Association for Women In Science (AWIS)

Members of AWIS are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors.

https://www.awis.org/about-awis/awis-history/

 

Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)

AWID is an international membership organisation connecting, informing and mobilising people and organisations committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights.

https://www.awid.org/

 

European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) & Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS)

The FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award highlights major achievements by female scientists in Europe. Winners are inspiring role models for future generations of women in science. The award is a joint initiative of EMBO and FEBS.

https://www.embo.org/the-embo-communities/febsembo-women-in-science-awardees/ 

European Federation for Pharmaceutical Sciences — Women in Pharmaceutical Sciences (EUFEPS-WIPS)

EUFEPS is a voluntary association of pharmaceutical scientists established to advance research in the pharmaceutical sciences in Europe.

EUFEPS-WIPS has been established to support women PhD students and post-doctoral researchers by facilitating their travels and participation in symposia.

https://www.eufeps.org/women-in-pharmaceutical-sciences.html

Eşit Adımlar (Equal Steps)

Equal Steps (Turkey) is a platform emphasising the importance of equality between men and women in business life, sharing roadmaps and examples of good practice for women, who make up half of the country’s population, to participate equally in the economy, to have equal representation in decision-making mechanisms, and to have equal rights in wages and promotions.

http://www.skdturkiye.org/esit-adimlar/en

Generation Equality Forum

The Generation Equality Forum, held in 2021, has kickstarted a five-year journey to accelerate ambitious action and implementation on global gender equality, leadership and opportunity for women and girls worldwide. The forum’s ambitious action agenda will be driven by multi-stakeholder Action Coalitions, which together developed a Global Acceleration Plan to advance gender equality. The Generation Equality Forum was convened by UN Women.

https://forum.generationequality.org/home

Global Fund for Women

The Global Fund for Women provides flexible, timely grants to women’s groups around the world striving to improve women’s human rights. The challenges that women face vary widely across communities, cultures, religious traditions and countries.

https://www.globalfundforwomen.org/

International Pharmaceutical Federation Women in Science and Education (FIPWiSE)

The FIPWiSE initiative aims to champion and enable women in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy education to achieve their fullest potential, and to attract female students and young professionals into these fields.

https://www.fip.org/fipwise

 

The Professional Society for Health Economics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) – Women in Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR)

ISPOR seeks to foster diversity in the health economics field, to promote better research and better healthcare decisions. Thus, the initiative: (i) supports the growth, development and contribution of women in HEOR; (ii) serves as a catalyst for women’s leadership in the field; and (iii) offers a platform for ISPOR women to collaborate with, network with, and mentor each other.

https://www.ispor.org/strategic-initiatives/more/women-in-heor

Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB)

The LLWB was established to bring professional women together and to provide them with a platform for: (i) sharing experiences; (ii) developing competencies and skills; (iii) establishing networks and exchanging expertise; (iv) accessing funds; and (v) mentorship. 

https://llwb.org/

L'Oréal-UNESCO Foundation For Women in Science (FWS)

The FWS is a pioneering programme for the promotion of women in science that aims to contribute to their recognition and provide them with the means to continue their commitment to science with energy and passion.

https://en.unesco.org/science-sustainable-future/women-in-science

 

National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP)

 

NAWP is an organisation within the profession in the UK to support female pharmacists with issues of special relevance. It has secured its future as a network within the Pharmacists’ Defence Association.

https://www.the-pda.org/nawp-to-continue-as-part-of-the-pda/

Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH)

The NPWH is a professional community committed to increase diversity and equity in the profession and provides women’s and gender-related healthcare.

https://www.npwh.org/pages/about

 

Organization for Women in Science in Developing Countries (OWSD)

The OWSD is an international organisation hosted by The World Academy of Sciences in Trieste, Italy. One of the most important objectives of this organisation is to increase the participation of women in developing countries in scientific and technological research, teaching and leadership.

https://owsd.net/career-development/awards

The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)

The ASCB provides the WICB (Women in Cell Biology) Junior Award for Excellence in Research, which  is dedicated to a woman or non-binary person in an early stage of their career (within seven years of appointment to an independent position at the nomination deadline) who is making exceptional scientific contributions to cell biology, is developing a strong independent research programme and exhibits the potential for continuing at a high level of scientific endeavour and leadership.

https://www.ascb.org/award/women-in-cell-biology-awards/

The Pharmacy Schools Council (PhSC)

The PhSC in the United Kingdom has updated its constitution to ensure that leadership within the profession is equitable, diverse and inclusive.

https://www.pharmacyschoolscouncil.ac.uk/new-phsc-constitution-to-prioritise-equality-diversity-and-inclusion/

United Nations Women (UN Women)

UN Women is the UN organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

https://www.unwomen.org/en/about-us

 

World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA)

The WHPA's campaign “Stand up for positive practice environments” highlights the importance of providing supportive workplaces and conditions for front-line health professionals.

https://www.whpa.org/activities/positive-practice-environments

 

Women’s Higher Education Network (WHEN)

WHEN is a diverse organisation focused on supporting equity of opportunity for women in higher education based in UK. It engages in networking, conferences and online resources aimed at empowering women working in the sector.

https://www.whenequality.org/

Women in Global Health (WGH)

WGH is a global movement with the largest network of women and allies working to challenge power and privilege for gender equity in health.

https://www.womeningh.org/

 

Women in Medicine (WIM)

WIM is a professional organisation that provides education, skills development and professional growth for women in the field.

https://www.womeninmedicinesummit.org/

 

Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Women in STEM has developed a campaign that is based on a website designed to showcase opportunities for women in the STEM sector and share inspirational testimonials.

https://womeninstem.org/

Women Watch

 

Women Watch is the central gateway to information and resources on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women throughout the UN.

https://www.un.org/womenwatch/about/

Women's World Summit Foundation (WWSF)

The WWSF is an international, non-profit NGO and empowerment agency (with UN ECOSOC consultative status), based in Geneva, Switzerland.

https://www.woman.ch/

FIP thanks all chapter and case study authors and contributors, in alphabetical order, Ajeng Diantini, Alison Ubong Etukakpan, Esther Anyango, Audrey Clarissa, Belma Behlivanovic, Chinedum Peace Babalola, Christine Ching Benosa, Dalal Hammoudi Halat, Ecehan Balta, Howard Catton, Lawrencia Louise Brown, Lynette R. Bradley-Baker, Lucinda L. Maine, Ning Wei Tracy Chean, Nisa Masyitah, Roopa Dhat and Wing Lam Chung for their collaboration and generosity in contributing to this toolkit.

The content of this toolkit has been developed independently by the authors and case study contributors, consolidated by the co-editors namely, lead for FIPWiSE programme Nilhan Uzman, FIPWiSE toolkit project coordinator Aysu Selcuk, and reviewed and approved by the co-editors FIPWiSE chair Claire Thompson, FIP Chief Executive Officer Catherine Duggan and supported by the FIP Executive Sponsors Carmen Peña Lopez, Ema Paulino, FIP president Dominique Jordan, and by FIP Bureau members Carlos Lacava, Samira Shammas Goussous, Ashok Soni, Paul Sinclair, Giovanni Pauletti, Jacqueline Surugue, Ralph Altiere, Ross McKinnon, Maniri Gharat, Parisa Aslani and Hiroshi Suzuki.

Last update 8 October 2021

FIP Congresses