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Pharmacists: Women Leading the Way

As the world continues to evolve, society is increasingly recognizing the importance of diversity across all spheres of life. Not only does the inclusion of a wide array of perspectives and experience make sense for increased equity and social progress, but it’s also good business.

Research shows that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their industry medians. Furthermore, gender-diverse businesses are 15% more likely to outperform financially above the industry median.

Women have made significant gains pursuing careers across sectors, including in pharmacy. In the middle of the twentieth century, women accounted for 15% of pharmacists in the United States. Today, that number is an estimated 65%. As glass ceilings shatter, it’s important to recognize the important contributions women pharmacists make on a daily basis when delivering quality care to patients in communities, nationwide, and across the globe.

Importance of Women in Healthcare

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the importance of female involvement in the healthcare industry, going so far as to say that “female healthcare workers drive global health.” A report from the same year found that women have driven 80% of the overall growth in the U.S. healthcare field since the beginning of the twentieth century, and account for three-quarters of full time, year-round healthcare workers today.

Women are the primary consumers and decision makers in the healthcare market, and comprise nearly half of its workforce. Over 60% of employees entering the healthcare industry are females, compared to the 50% average in sectors across the country. Women play a pivotal part in the delivery and support of healthcare in the United States, and increasingly assume roles at the industry’s highest levels, including Emma Walmsley (CEO of GlaxoSmithKline and the first woman to lead a global pharma company), Laura Dietch (president and CEO of BioTrace), and Gail Boudreaux (president and CEO of Anthem).

Independent Pharmacy Ownership

Despite major gains in gender parity across the healthcare sector – and more specifically, in the pharmacy realm – independent pharmacy ownership is an area that is sorely lacking in equal representation.

While 65% of pharmacists may be women, only 25% of pharmacy owners are female. Despite the lack of gender parity in independent pharmacy ownership, there is still a wealth of opportunity for women seeking to jump into the business. Owning one’s own business can offer more flexibility, work-life balance, and financial opportunities.


As with any new business opportunity, taking on independent pharmacy ownership can seem like a huge risk. But with every risk comes reward, and it’s important to understand what factors are important to you as you consider taking the next step in your professional career.

If you are interested in bridging the gap between male and female independent pharmacy ownership by buying or opening a pharmacy of your own, there are several things you should evaluate, including:

Location: What are the demographics of the neighborhood? What kind of pedestrian or drive-in traffic might you expect? Who’s your existing competition?

Property: Is the building you’re interested in owned or leased? What kind of repairs or renovation will be needed? Does the property live up to your ideal vision? What will it take to make it work for you?

Network: Who can you tap to help support your vision come to life? Are there colleagues you can leverage as resources? What resources can your network offer you?

Inventory: What OTC, DME, beauty, grocery or other categories of inventory are currently sold? What products are included as part of the sale?

Employees: What are existing staffing levels and related costs? Who are the current team members? What are their skills and who is essential?

Finances: Is the business worth the price?

The plethora of unknowns that accompany business ownership can be intimidating, but confidence should never be a limiting factor in women striving to achieve success in any industry. Find those trusted advisors who understand independent pharmacies and have the necessary expertise to help you evaluate your needs. Consider looking into a team that can help you turn your pharmacy ownership dreams into reality.

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