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All change

With women now representing 56% of optometrists on the GOC's registers, it is very fitting that OT 's launch edition is themed for women in optics, writes the AOP's chief executive

31 Oct 2015 by Henrietta Alderman

This is a very exciting moment in the 55-year history of OT  as it emerges after many months of gestation into a monthly journal

henriettaaldermanThe secret to OT’s success has been its ability to adapt over the years to meet readers’ needs and expectations. And this is exactly what it is doing now. Member feedback informed the thinking on the preference for a significant monthly journal, building in more CET and specific interest sections, whilst delivering daily news content online which can be accessed across all mobile devices.

It is also very fitting that this edition is themed for women in optics as we, like many of the allied health and caring professions, have seen a rise in the number of women who choose optics as their career. Women now represent 56% of optometrists on the General Optical Council register, and this year’s new intake of undergraduates was 66.6% female.

The profession has changed and membership bodies and their journals need to ensure that they are aligned to the potential support required. For us this means targeted, easily accessible information and services, relevant CET and CPD delivered by the most appropriate means together with a membership and payment structure that accommodates career breaks for women and men. Information gained from member surveys, reader panels, and face-to-face interactions at events around the country help guide our direction.

Council has also seen a change following an extensive review to ensure that it was fit for purpose as the representative body of the AOP. Over the summer we appealed to all members to either put themselves forward for election to AOP Council or to vote for those who have. The Council has increased its female representation from 33% to 39% and now has a greater ethnic mix and practitioners drawn from a range of work environments. Website development and technical solutions have also been introduced to give Councillors the ability to more easily communicate with and represent their constituents, ensuring that every member has a voice and an opportunity to have their views heard. A key aspect in achieving this is by making best use of the online community forums sitting within the AOP website. This new technology ensures that wherever you live, whatever your work/life/family pressures, you will be able to join the conversation, enter the debate and get a response to your questions.

During my own career there has been a considerable shift in female representation in the workplace within all roles and occupations. Often what stops us most from taking roles is ourselves, so it is great to see some wonderful female contributors leading the way in our first monthly edition of OT.

Henrietta Alderman joined the AOP as chief executive in 2013, having been secretary general of the British Veterinary Association

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