Women in Pharmacy

Women in Pharmacy

Women in Pharmacy room

What will you choose to challenge this year?

Started almost 3 years ago

Yesterday (March 8) was International Women's Day and this year the theme is 'choose to challenge'. It's definitely thought provoking, and one that has made me take a step back and really think about what I would challenge; and whether I would feel comfortable doing so!

So it would be great to hear from some of you on what you would choose to challenge this year, whether that be in the workplace or beyond. Would you feel comfortable challenging something or someone on a gender related issue? And if not, why do you think that is? 

I'm going to choose to challenge the little voice inside my head that tells me I can't do something, that I'm not good enough, that I need to be X, Y or Z or I'm a failure. I suffer from impostor syndrome at the best of times, but I've found the past year especially tough. Taking on the editorship of C+D was a big step up for me and I've been so conscious of living up to my predecessors, especially when leading a news team through the biggest health story in living memory. Then there's living through a global pandemic. It's been tough to stop overthinking things when there's not really been anything else to distract me from my thoughts during lockdown. It's been intense! So often this past year, I've compared myself to my peers in an unhelpful way that's only hindered my belief in myself and my abilities rather than spur me on to achieve greater things. So, I'm calling it. Enough. I'm challenging myself to be kinder to myself, to try to look more to the positives and to concentrate more on my successes than my failures. 

Who else can relate to feelings of impostor syndrome? How do you overcome those thoughts? Please share your tips!

I think I'm going to choose to challenge celebrating the successes of women for this years IWD! More often than not we (women) - including myself - often downplay our achievements and accomplishments. I think we should be making a conscious effort to shout about our successes - not only should we be proud of ourselves, but it encourages our peers to take steps in their career and life which they previously might not have thought possible. 

This is an excellent conversation thread, and an important one too. Beth, I very much resonate with your “choose to challenge” theme, and I also challenge similarly. Like Naimah says, we should celebrate our successes and strive to always improve and be the best version of ourselves. You’re both very strong and inspirational women and I look up to people like yourselves.  

Likewise, I choose to challenge focusing on my weakness and change that perception that I’m not enough. Instead I want to be more kind to myself and gently work on areas to improve with the goal of being physically, mentally and spiritually the best that I can be to better help others.

Hayley-Rose, you’re also a strong and inspirational woman, especially with the running of this platform and giving us the space to have these conversations, so I thank you!

I guess we have chosen very personal “choose to challenge” topics in the comments above. I will also choose to challenge behaviour that doesn’t embody equality, diversity and inclusion and I always want to be kind, respectful and an accepting person.

Thank you so much for your comments Anjlee I really appreciate them! You're right, we have offered personal choose to challenge topics, however I believe that starting at a personal level and working on trying to feel more confident and stronger in yourself will help when facing the behaviour we want to stomp out or challenge. 

I hope you and others feel confident to share here and as always please do let us know what you would like to see more of! 

Thanks for setting up this space, Hayley! I think talking about our challenges can help us realise we often share common sentiments, such as the feeling of "not being good enough". Sometimes, as Beth said, it's the little voice inside our heads that makes us forget about our successes. However, workplace inequalities and inappropriate comments from colleagues or customers can play their part too. 

When I was 21, I completed a one-month placement in Auvergne, France, working at an estate agency. I still remember the day when I decided to wear a skirt at work, and the boss wouldn't stop making references to a French song about some boys wondering what's under a girl's skirt. 

Inappropriate comments can massively undermine our self-confidence too. So today, I "choose to challenge" all colleagues to watch out for this kind of behaviour at the workplace. Be an active bystander, and kindly challenge this behaviour.

A female pharmacist recently wrote a blog for C+D, in which she revealed that she's experienced sexual harassment at work countless times
She wrote:

"During the pandemic, inappropriate comments happened on an almost daily basis from patients, hospital visitors and colleagues. I became so used to them. They became normalised in my work life. Only when looking back on things have I realised that these interactions were definitely not okay, in an ideal world."

Have you experienced harassment in the pharmacy? You can share your experience in confidence with me if you want. Send an email to valeria.fiore@informa.com

Alternatively, if you would like to do so, please feel free to share your experience here! How do you respond to inappropriate comments? Stay safe, Valeria x