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Home   »   NAWP   »   A Brief History

A Brief History

Find out more about the history of the National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP).

  • In June 1905 a group of women pharmacists met in a house in Endsleigh Street in London, to form an association that would affect the lives of many generations of pharmacists. At that time there were still only a handful of women in the profession, but many of these were determined and resourceful and had already achieved academic and professional success.
  • They founded the Association of Women Pharmacists, later to become the National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP), to promote organised action to improve the opportunities and conditions of employment for all women in pharmacy. For the first time, there was a properly constituted body run by women for women within a male-dominated profession.
  • NAWP has seen many developments since 1905, and its aims have reflected changing attitudes both within the pharmacy sector and in society. Attention focussed on contemporary issues and NAWP has achieved many ‘firsts for pharmacy’: the first Return to Practice courses for women: the Women in Pharmacy pack (1991) – an information guide to career options for pharmacists: a mentoring scheme launched in 1999 to provide support to pharmacists making career decisions.
  • Conferences and study days, aimed at updating knowledge and practice skills, anticipated continuing education requirements by many years.
  • The friendly and reassuring fellowship within NAWP provides valuable encouragement to those women pharmacists who aspire to raise their professional and political profile. From the ranks of NAWP came the first women members of the Pharmaceutical Society’s Board of Examiners and of the Council itself, several subsequently holding the office of President. Today, a clear majority of pharmacists in the UK are women.
  • NAWP is justifiably proud of its past achievements but has been conscious of its important ongoing role, both within the profession and as a voice of pharmacy in the wider public arenas of women’s affairs, especially those that are health-related.
  • NAWP’s independence has given it the freedom to pursue its aims of promoting equality of opportunity, encouraging continuing education and career development, and fostering links with women’s organisations in the UK and overseas.
  • In January 2020, NAWP began a new chapter as a network of the Pharmacists Defence Association, the largest pharmacist membership body and only independent trade union exclusively for pharmacists in the UK.






The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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