STUC Equality Award

Equality Award 2023

Pharmacy student and union activist, Soh Xi Ken of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA), received the STUC Equality Award at the STUC Annual Congress in Dundee. The award recognised Xi Ken’s tireless advocacy for furthering the rights of members of the LGBT+ and Black and Minority Ethnic members of the PDA.

Xi Ken was integral to the launch of an Equality network within the PDA, with the main goal of the committee being to increase levels of diversity and inclusion within the pharmaceutical industry. Xi Ken is keen to increase knowledge and awareness of the fact that LGBT+ patients may have their own unique needs or their own specific health inequalities whilst under pharmacy care. Xi Ken has also been open about the racial discrimination he faced during his time as a pharmacy student at university.

Commenting, Xi Ken stated, “It’s a great privilege to have received the STUC Equality Award with all praise and gratitude going to my colleagues within the Pharmacists Defence Association.

"It has been an honour to fight for LGBT+ rights within the pharmacy sector. When we all come together, trade unionists can make real changes in workplaces, industries and in communities.

"That’s precisely why I’m a proud member of the PDA. We’re seeking to root out discrimination in all its forms within the sector, leaving no stone unturned in our collective fight for fairness and equality throughout the Scotland’s pharmacies.”

Commenting, STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer stated, “Right across Scotland, in every sector of the economy, our reps and shop stewards are the face of our trade union movement in our workplaces and in our communities. Our annual Union Rep Awards celebrate these stalwarts and all those who have gone above and beyond this past year.

"This year was no exception and Xi Ken thoroughly deserves his recognition as the recipient of the Equality Award for 2023.

"He is a driven and dedicated proponent of equality and has been a key component in the campaign to ask the UK Pharmacy Schools Council (PhSC) to include, and be more inclusive of, LGBT+ health issues in the curriculum.

"Our reps are the lifeblood of our movement; an incredible force for good in helping others in need. Every single one of them deserves an award for the amazing work that they do and they have my utmost praise as they ingrain trade union values throughout their workplaces.”

Xi Ken, who was presented with the Equality Award by First Minister Humza Yousaf, was integral to the launch of the LGBT+ Pharmacists Network within the PDA. Xi Ken raised the profile of issues such as LGBT+ inclusive education, and ensured that LGBT+ inclusion was high up on pharmacy schools’ teaching and learning agenda.

Wendy Burton, Director of Scottish Union Learning, added, “We are delighted that Soh Xi Ken of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association has received our Equality Award. His exceptional work in raising awareness of the need for inclusive education, and in helping pharmacy schools embed LGBT+ inclusion within their teaching and learning, demonstrate his passion and commitment to improving equality in an extremely challenging environment.

"Soh Xi Ken is a very deserving winner of this award, and we wish him all the best as he continues to campaign and advocate for LGBT+ pharmacists across Scotland.”


The STUC Equality Award short film further further tells the story of the work undertaken by the award recipient Soh Xi Ken, it can be viewed below: