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Study: Women Faculty at Pharmacy SchoolsFace Barriers to Advancement

Study: Women Faculty at Pharmacy Schools Face Barriers to Advancement

A  recent study published in the online edition of the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education reveals that women faculty at pharmacy schools continue to face disparities in administrative positions, salary and advancement opportunities despite a 30-year increase in the numbers of women entering higher education and the sciences.
The study, “The Status of Women in Pharmacy Education: Persisting Gaps and Issues,” identifies four issues that may potentially impede the progress women faculty make in their academic careers: family roles and mobility; work values and activities; gender-related beliefs and biases; and lack of support and marginalization in their departments. The study also calls for further research into these gender disparities and for new initiatives to eliminate the bias and environment that bars women academicians from advancing in their careers.
“Women academics are confronted with a complex set of issues involving their familial responsibilities, professional networks and departmental climate that impact their success in academia,” said American Association of College of Pharmacy 2004-2005 study co-author Dr. JoLaine Draugalis. “The biases and barriers to women faculty in tenured and administrative positions continue to not only impact the women themselves but the pharmacy academic community as it faces a number of vacancies at the faculty level. At a time when there is a shortage of pharmacy faculty and a growing interest in pharmacy as a profession, it is especially critical that every faculty member is provided with opportunities to succeed professionally so that we don’t lose valuable talent to other industries.”
The percentage of women pharmacy faculty has increased from 30 percent of all pharmacy faculty in 1985, to 55 percent in 2002. Yet only 41 percent of tenured faculty in 2002 were women. Furthermore, only 18 percent of all women pharmacy faculty specialized in pharmaceutical sciences, an area that brings significant funding and prestige for both the school and the involved faculty member.
A review of the literature found that of the four contributing factors impacting the career progression of the women faculty, family responsibilities have little impact on the ability of women to fully participate in their profession. Married women publish at the same rate as single women, and women with children publish at the same rate as ones without. However, women are more likely than men to be limited in their job mobility due to familial obligations. Furthermore, according to a survey of high-achieving business executives, women are more likely to have responsibility for household chores and children’s activities than men in similar positions.
The researchers also found that work activities, including publication frequency, teaching experience and professional service, were not necessarily impacted by gender roles. Instead, other factors such as heavier teaching schedules, lack of mentoring or fewer personnel and resources that cut across gender lines make it difficult to single out work habits as a contributing factor in the lack of women’s progress in academic pharmacy. 

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