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Home  »   National Association of Women PharmacistsLatest News   »   PDA NAWP Network’s International Women’s Day event: Women and Inclusion in Pharmacy

PDA NAWP Network’s International Women’s Day event: Women and Inclusion in Pharmacy

The PDA NAWP Network hosted its annual International Women's Day event on Friday 8 March. As this year’s theme for International Women’s Day was inclusion the event focused on women and inclusion in pharmacy and allowed those in attendance to share their personal stories of discrimination while experiencing breast and cervical cancer.

Thu 4th April 2024 The PDA

The PDA NAWP Networks annual informal networking event for International Women’s Day focused on women’s health and inclusion at work. PDA members shared their personal stories about breast and cervical cancer and how they were unfortunately discriminated against by their employers, facing dismissal and disciplinary procedures.

Inclusion is a universal human right and embraces all people irrespective of race, gender, disability, sexuality, religion, socio-economic background, or other characteristics. Inclusion seeks equal access and opportunities and eradicating discrimination and intolerance. The PDA has previously produced a Guide to: Discrimination in the Workplace which may be useful to anyone experiencing discrimination.

Tean Thomas, a PDA NAWP Network member and locum pharmacist, shared, “I finally found a safe space to share my story. I didn’t feel judged, just enormously supported, and for the first time, unashamed of what happened to me. NAWP made me feel that my feelings were both real and justified. I hope that my story will help others in similar situations.”

Una O’Farrell, PDA National Officer for Northern Ireland said, “It was a privilege to share the evening of International Women’s Day with PDA members. The issue of cervical screening, known as ‘the smear test,’ unites a large demographic of pharmacists, given that 63% of pharmacists on GPhC register are female. Reconciling our experiences, the obstacles to attending a screening in a timely manner, with strategies for women’s health across all four devolved governments, highlights the opportunity and need for employers to contribute by encouraging women to prioritise their heath and attend the screening when called.”

An anonymous PDA NAWP Network member said, “All the speakers were brave to share their very personal experiences.”

Cancer and the law

The law considers cancer a disability. In England, Scotland and Wales, the Equality Act replaced previous anti-discrimination laws, bringing them together under one piece of legislation in 2010. This included the Disability Discrimination Act. The Equality Act applies to people with cancer or those who have had cancer in the past. All cancers are included and people are protected under the Equality Act from the time they’re diagnosed with cancer. In Northern Ireland, the Disability Discrimination Act still applies to people with cancer.

This legal protection means it would be discrimination if someone is treated less favourably than other people who do not have cancer because they have cancer, or for reasons connected to the cancer. PDA members who have been diagnosed with cancer and believe they may be being discriminated against are encouraged to contact the PDA Member Support Centre.

Get involved

  • Follow the PDA NAWP Network on social media using the hashtag #PDAnawp
  • Join the NAWP Network here.
  • If you would like to get involved with the network and its activities, please email:

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