Table 1

Strategies to Address Common Barriers to Involvement of Women in Leadership Rolesa,b

Barrier and StrategiesResponsible for Implementation
Institution or EmployerIndividualProfessional Leadership or Organization
Conscious and unconscious biases
1. Provide seminars and workshops to help people identify and reduce unconscious biases.
2. Identify challenges that prevent aspiring women leaders from pursuing advanced career goals; individually design strategies to overcome challenges.
3. Have diverse and inclusive search committees.
4. Conduct periodic work force assessment and surveys of work environment climate; use collected information for CQI initiatives to improve environment.
Lack of mentality to pursue leadership
1. Nurture the development of relationships among early female careerists and successful women leaders.
2. Be assertive in identifying role models and creating connections to potential mentors, coaches, and sponsors.
3. Proactively collect and share stories, case studies, and scenarios of how women have addressed gender, workplace, work–life integration, and leadership challenges.
4. Implement programs that share the successes of seasoned women leaders.
5. Cultivate leadership aspirations of early careerists; encourage them to proactively manage career plans.
6. Facilitate leadership development.
7. Actively recruit women into elected and appointed leadership roles and support their advancement by recognizing their volunteer contributions and achievements.
8. Develop a strategic career plan focused on personal skill development; meet with senior leaders to voice aspirations.
9. Seek applicable education and training (e.g., advanced degrees, residency training, skills-based leadership training) to support career trajectory.
10. Recognize that one’s career progression is a journey and that each transition entails a new level of commitment and dedication to work–life integration.
11. Be assertive in negotiating, designing, and applying work models that meet the needs of employers as well as individual professional and personal needs.
12. Encourage aspiring leaders to seek and take on visible, important, and complex roles and projects and to work diligently to be successful in producing results.
13. Identify challenges that prevent aspiring women leaders from pursuing advanced career goals; individually design strategies to overcome challenges.
Lack of mentors, role models, and sponsors
1. Nurture the development of relationships among early female careerists and successful women leaders.
2. Develop and implement mentoring, coaching, and sponsorship programs; provide appraisals and feedback.
3. Be assertive in identifying role models and creating connections to potential mentors, coaches, and sponsors.
4. Report the number of women in leadership positions and assess inequities.
5. Develop a strategic career plan focused on personal skill development; meet with senior leaders to voice aspirations.
6. Make introductions between aspiring leaders and current influential leaders.
7. Expand professional networks of emerging leaders; promote interactions with seasoned and successful leaders.
8. Share profiles, stories, and recommendations of successful female pharmacy leaders with others.
9. Identify challenges that prevent aspiring women leaders from pursuing advanced career goals; individually design strategies to overcome challenges.
Lack of policies that support work–life balance
1. Promote programing for work–life integration; identify and share strategies for success within organization.
2. Share successful pharmacy employer policies and practices for building supportive work environments.
3. Develop, assess, and share inclusivity policies and practices to support successful engagement and participation.
4. Identify challenges that prevent aspiring women leaders from pursuing advanced career goals; individually design strategies to overcome challenges.
5. Examine and consider implementation of organizational policies to provide work–life balance (e.g., flexible hours, job sharing)
Work–life integration challenges
1. Proactively collect and share stories, case studies, and scenarios of how women have addressed workplace, work–life integration, and leadership challenges.
2. Recognize that one’s career progression is a journey and that each transition entails a new level of commitment and dedication to work–life integration.
3. Identify challenges that prevent aspiring women leaders from pursuing advanced career goals; individually design strategies to overcome challenges.
4. Promote programming for work–life integration.
The “lean-out” phenomenon
1. Implement programs that share the successes of seasoned women leaders.
2. Recognize that one’s career progression is a journey and that each transition entails a new level of commitment and dedication to work–life integration.
3. Identify challenges that prevent aspiring women leaders from pursuing advanced career goals; individually design strategies to overcome challenges.
Lack of internal and external networks, recognitions, opportunities, or resources
1. Periodically assess salaries and bonuses for gender disparities and make appropriate adjustments.
2. Collect data concerning the number of women in leadership positions and assess inequities.
3. Proactively collect and share stories, case studies, and scenarios of how women have addressed gender, workplace, work–life integration, and leadership challenges.
4. Develop, assess, and share inclusivity policies and practices to support successful engagement and participation.
5. Actively recruit women into leadership positions and support their advancement by recognizing achievements.
6. Develop a strategic career plan focused on personal skill development; meet with senior leaders to voice aspirations.
7. Be assertive in negotiating, designing, and applying work models that meet the needs of employers as well as individual professional and personal needs/aspirations.
8. Promote positive career changes, education, and training to facilitate goal achievement.
9. Identify challenges that prevent aspiring women leaders from pursuing advanced career goals; individually design strategies to overcome challenges.
10. Create and provide opportunities for participation in formal education and training programs that have been effective in fostering career advancement.
11. Offer and/or support educational and training programs and personal development opportunities to build skills.
12. Encourage aspiring leaders to seek and take on visible, important, and complex roles and projects and to work diligently to be successful in producing results.
  • a CQI = continuous quality improvement.

  • b The ASHP Women in Pharmacy Leadership Steering Committee is acknowledged for developing some of the strategies listed.72,73