Campaign letter for RPS elections 2021: Alisha Sodhi on closing the gender pay gap

This is a campaign letter for the 2021 RPS national pharmacy board elections. The views expressed in this letter belong to the author. Find out more about the RPS elections.

In the UK, female pharmacists earn 6.5% less than males. In the 21st century within Great Britain, I believe this is unacceptable. I want to empower our female pharmacists to fearlessly get what they deserve and close the pharmacy gender pay gap once and for all.

In 2017, the General Pharmaceutical Council disclosed their median gender pay gap of 16.5% in favour of men. As of April 2019, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society reported a median hourly gender pay gap of 13.1%. Although the first part of change requires awareness, it is clear that more needs to be done.

This issue is close to my heart for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I am female and, during my younger years, I lacked confidence and doubted my worthiness. By telling myself a disempowering story, my mindset was one of scarcity. It was no surprise that I worked for far below the average of a locum pharmacist at £14 an hour.

Things changed for me when I adopted a powerful story. One that developed from seeking the help of individuals who had the ability to charge their worth. Now I am comfortable negotiating my salary, asking for pay rises and even challenging the beliefs of my peers to ensure they also get paid their worth.

However, my personal story is just one example and there are a myriad of factors that can affect the gender pay gap.

So how do I plan to tackle this issue?

Firstly, I will engage with pharmacists and seek to understand the problems they face. If we are comfortable talking about an issue, we can gain clarity on the top obstacles.

Once we can be conscious of the concerns we can put together proven strategies to help individuals in the best way we can.

I believe success leaves clues. Although trial and error can be a great way of finding out what works best, it’s too slow.  By seeking out those females who represent the outliers in the data, who earn equal to or more than their male counterparts and modelling them, we can speed up the entire process.

Through the RPS platform and the use of mentorship, we can efficiently and effectively implement this valuable information.

We can provide an opportunity for change and growth on a national scale. With my burning desire for change, I hope to light the way for all pharmacists.

Alisha Sodhi, election candidate, English pharmacy board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, April 2021;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.79425