Sunday, June 27, 2010

Baxter Black is becoming more unique...

If that is possible.  It seems the transformation of veterinary medicine to a female dominated profession continues unabated.


I think there are several reasons, and some of which feed on each other.  As more women enter a profession, more women are comfortable working in and promoting the work as a viable choice for young people. Plus I would imagine they are making the professional conduct standards, both officially, and in the hotel bars after seminars, more attractive to females as well.

But another powerful factor could be child-bearing, and which professions offer the greatest chance to have a career and family successfully.

And compared to their equally educated counterparts from the early 1990s, these advanced-degree women are much more likely to have borne children. More than a third of women with professional/Ph.D. degrees in 1992-94 decided to remain childless; in 2006-8, less than a quarter of such women made the same choice.
Perhaps this has something to do with Claudia Goldin’s findings that some of the fields that require the most educational investment upfront — like pediatrics, or veterinary medicine — also happen to be fields whose work schedules allow for a healthy work-family balance. High-achieving women who want children may be discovering this, and making their career choices accordingly. [More]
From simple anecdotal evidence - which can be misleading, I'll admit - I see more ag support professions like vet medicine being a popular choice for young women.  Few of us are surprised by female seed/chemical reps for example, although machinery still seems to be a masculine enclave.

That could change too, along with male bastions like farm management.  Ag lending could be slower simply because one of the largest players  - Farm Credit  - has virtually no female lending officers. Which is curious given the fine line it walks with government linkage.

The more powerful enabling attitude may come from farmers themselves. I know there is a completely different response from Aaron's generation than from geezers like me - even though many of are trying to shed old prejudices.


Anonymous said...

Nice intro to this post. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman recently wrote a book discussing women's careers and child bearing. The key looks to be flexibility.

I wonder if this shift in vet college enrollment has anything to do with the shortage of large animal vets. Nothing too flexible about a difficult calving in the wee hours of Sunday morning. That said, we now have the best dairy vet we've ever had, who happens to be female.

Anonymous said...


I think you hit the nail on the head. I believe child-bearing is THE contributing factor of higher female enrollment in vet schools, however, not due to the flexibility of the job. An old vet friend of mine who ranks high up in a prominent Texas vet school said that vet school administrators are using gender to control the number of practicing vets. A study was done that determined that the average number of years a female vet practiced was something like 3-5 years. The reason they quit? Yup, pregnancy. So the theory is admit and graduate more female vets, they will quit practicing in 3 to 5 years while their far fewer male counterparts continue practicing, and you have a "natural" way to control the vet population. He claims that this ensures there won't be a vet on every corner. Sorry I don't have a link for that study, I'll look for it and post it when I find it.