There is a long history in the sciences of women being subjected to inequality. In almost every area of science, engineering, and technology women are underrepresented. Veterinary medicine is one field where the tide is turning. If one were to look at the admissions profile of any university in the United States it would be evident that women and men comprise an equal share of the entering classes. This of course has not always been the case. The women of the past have had difficulty in entering this field and making it female friendly. Their efforts have been worthwhile - veterinary medicine now has the greatest equality of all the health professions next to nursing.
The legacy begins in 1910 when the first two women were granted veterinary degrees (AVMA, 1999). By 1930, there were 30 women who had been granted DVMs (Pritchard, 1989). These women were the pioneers for today's female veterinarians. They faced many hardships in their academic and professional careers - hardships began at the admissions level. A book published in 1963 states that "because a number of women have dropped out or fail to continue in veterinary medicine, admissions committees are reluctant to accept more than a few women students." It also claimed that the usual qualifications for a veterinarian are "unusual" in a woman (Riser, 1963).
For those women who were lucky enough to be admitted to a veterinary college, it did not get any easier. Early women veterinary students faced resentment from male colleagues and faculty. Women were willing to carry the same academic load as the men did. However, some colleges banned women from certain courses - often times giving no reason for their exclusion (Assoc. ...
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The Association for Women Veterinarians (AWV-web). 2000. http://www.awv-women-veterinarians.org/
Honsch, J.D. "The New Face of Veterinary Medicine." June 6, 2000. http://www.vetcentric.com/magazine/magazineArticle.cfm?ARTICLEID=873
KPMG LLP Economic Consulting Services. "The Current and Future Market for Veterinarians and Veterinary Medical Services in the United States." JAVMA. Vol. 215 no. 2. July 15, 1999. 161-183
Pritchard, W.R. (ed.). Future Directions for Veterinary Medicine. Pew National Veterinary Education Program (pub.). Durham, NC. 1989. Also found at: http://www.equinevetnet.com/vetcareer/womenvetmed.html
Riser, W.H. Your Future in Veterinary Medicine. Richards Rosen Press, Inc. New York. 1963. 141-145
Turner, S. "Women are changing the face of veterinary medicine." Careers in Veterinary Medicine. 2001. http://www.vin.com/Careers/
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