With a number of pharmacy organisations with few or no women on their elected boards, what might be stopping more women putting themselves forward was the subject of a panel discussion at the Pharmacy Show, chaired by Clare Ward, director of public affairs at the PDA.

More information about what is involved in being a board member of a national organisation could help, proposed Leyla Hannbeck, chief pharmacist at the National Pharmacy Association. Although the NPA currently has no women on its board, “It’s a fair election; anyone can stand,” she emphasised.

It is important to tell people that you want to get involved said Janice Perkins, superintendent pharmacist, at Well. “It’s also about picking the right moment in your career,” she said. “You need to take those opportunities to really make things happen.”

Surrey pharmacy owner and community pharmacist locality lead for Sutton CCG, Reena Barrai, said that underlying self-doubt and what still may be a greater share of practical responsibilities for home life and family can often be barriers. “Many women haven’t got equality in home life,” she suggested.

From the floor, Annette Kerr, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association, said half of the 12-person CCA board are currently women.

Whether woman or man, we need to be looking at whoever is best for the job, commented Leyla Hannbeck, National Pharmacy Association. “If I can do the job, I’ll go for the job.”

English National Board’s Sandra Gidley agreed. “If you want something, go for it,” she said.

Luvjit Kandula of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland LPC advised: “Have a clear purpose and objective. Make the most of the opportunities you have in front of you.” The more you get involved in, the more you improve your experience and confidence, she suggested.

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