Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

Pharmacist Krishna providing advice to a customer.

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

On International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024, we recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in our organisation and their contribution to the health and wellbeing of our community, not just today, but every day.

At Community Care Chemist, 90 per cent of our registered pharmacists are women, which is well above the national average of around 64 per cent.* Four of five of our management team are women, as well as one in three of our executive team.

Krishna Nathwani joined Community Care Chemist three years ago as Belmont Pharmacy Manager and transitioned through the Pharmacy Services Manager role to become the organisation’s Chief Operations Officer.

Krishna shares some insights into her experiences working in pharmacy and her thoughts on the importance of celebrating, recognising and investing in women.

1. What do you enjoy most about working as a pharmacist?

One of the most enjoyable aspects of working as a pharmacist, and in my current role, is the opportunity to directly impact people’s health and wellbeing.  Community Care Chemist offers a diverse range of services for patients, and a multitude of professional development opportunities for learning and advancing skillsets for pharmacists.

I enjoy the continuous learning and expanding our scope of practice to impact not only the quality use of medicines, but also access to immunisations, harm minimisation services and pharmacist consultations for select health conditions.  I find it rewarding too, to collaborate with fellow health professionals to individualise treatments to provide optimal outcomes. Pharmacists play a crucial role in primary care, and I find the responsibilities incredibly fulfilling when seeing positive health outcomes achieved within our community.

2. As a woman, have you had to overcome any barriers to working in this industry:

In many industries, including pharmacy, women have historically been faced with unequal pay, gender bias and limited opportunities for advancement. While I can only be fortunate for the opportunities that have come my way, I speak for myself as well as many other women out there when I say such challenges can be successfully overcome through determination, skill and advocacy for fellow women.

3. What does IWD mean to you?

To me, International Women’s Day honours the immense achievements of the historical figures who have promoted women’s rights, and commemorates the voices and ongoing efforts of advocates and leaders championing equality and diversity. It celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  I think IWD also serves as a reminder of areas of attention still required on a global scale, and the importance of continuing to raise awareness and be a voice for women in need.

4. Reflecting on the United Nations theme for IWD 2024: Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress, why is investing in women important in the pharmacy industry and generally?

Investing in women in the pharmacy industry is imperative for several reasons. Firstly, diversity in the workplace grants us a wider range of perspectives, ideas and innovation, ultimately improving patient care and outcomes. This is particularly true for understanding and addressing the healthcare needs of women in our community, and can lead to more personalised and effective treatment approaches. Investing in women also helps us address systemic inequalities, allows the industry to tap into a more diverse talent pool and creates more opportunities for women to excel and advance their careers.

5. Are there any changes you would like to see happen in your industry to make it more inclusive of, or appealing to, women?

I believe community pharmacy offers some flexibility currently and professional advancement opportunities that make it an attractive career option for women. Fostering a workplace culture of inclusivity and respect is essential for creating a supportive work environment for women. We should be seeing (industry-wide) zero-tolerance policies for harassment and discrimination, opening communication channels and development of trainings on unconscious bias. I believe introduction of parental leave policies and childcare assistance can greatly assist women in navigating their careers while managing family responsibilities.

I am a strong advocate for pharmacists practicing at full scope, and would always like to see more in this regard. There is opportunity (again, industry-wide) to promote gender diversity in leadership positions, with an increased representation of women who can then serve as role models and advocates for others, and encouraging and providing mentorship through leadership development programs specifically tailored to women. I recently attended the annual Women’s Pharmacy Conference held by Medici Capital where the topic of being a woman in the pharmacy workplace was raised. In addition to valuable industry updates, it was an incredible opportunity to network, collaborate with an inspired group of ladies to break down industry barriers, advance on goals and innovate on current practices. A brilliant experience, such networking opportunities would be a great initiative to see more frequently within our industry.

*Pharmacy Board registrations 2023