Mary Anne Koda-Kimble cites ongoing need for work-life balance policies

Writing in the current issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA), Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD, looks back on the seismic shift in the treatment and expectations of women in clinical and academic pharmacy over the last four decades.

She also calls for a continued emphasis on policies promoting work-life balance for both women and men, especially “as technology has dissolved the traditional physical boundary between home and work.”

In her Viewpoint column, “Rising Women,” Koda-Kimble, who retired as dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy in June, revisits her own 1975 article, “The Sleeping Women,” which noted that many female student pharmacists at that time were conscientious but not career oriented.

The column accompanies the journal’s republication of a 1969 landmark article, “Practice Continuity and Longevity of Women Pharmacists,” part of a series marking the JAPhA’s centennial year. That article noted that the proportion of practicing U.S. pharmacists who were women had risen to 7.9 percent in 1967 but said they tended to have shorter careers, interrupted by child-rearing.

Radical changes have taken place since then, Koda-Kimble writes, not only in women’s numbers and treatment, but also in their goals, commitment, and leadership positions in the profession.

A key, she notes, was the change in pharmacy and academic workplace cultures allowing for better work-life balance. She cites her own experience in 1977 as “the first woman faculty member in our school of pharmacy to have a baby” when there were no childbearing leave policies. (Current university policy normally provides academic appointees with at least six weeks’ leave.)

Beyond academia, a September, 2012 working paper by two Harvard University economists circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research, “The Most Egalitarian of All Professions: Pharmacy and the Evolution of a Family-Friendly Occupation,” finds pharmacy has become a female-majority profession with a gender earnings gap (due mostly to work hours) smaller “than for almost any other high-wage profession.”


Rising Women - Journal of the American Pharmacists Association

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.