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Women 'Less Prepared' to Take on Veterinary Leadership Roles

05 December 2014

UK - Women are “simply less prepared to come forward to take on business leadership roles," according to Professor Colette Henry, Head of Department of Business Studies, Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Professor Henry joined former RCVS President Jacqui Molyneux in a debate at BVA Congress at the London Vet Show last month “Setting the A-gender” which explored women as veterinary leaders and entrepreneurs.

The discussion concluded that doing nothing to address the gender inequality that exists within the veterinary profession is not an option.

female vet, vet, dogVet Futures is a jointly powered project from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), which was launched at BVA Congress in November.

The project aims to help the veterinary profession shape its own future by identifying trends and exploring actions for the whole profession.

RCVS and BVA are encouraging veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, and the wider veterinary sector to get involved with the debate via the Vet Futures website by responding to the blog, posting comments on the priority issues for the profession’s future, and taking part in the regular polls.

Professor Henry’s blog suggests that veterinary schools could do more to develop young women’s business leadership potential and so December’s Vet Futures poll asks all vets (male and female): “Do you think your veterinary education prepared you for running a business?”

November’s poll asked “Are you optimistic about the future of the veterinary profession?” with a very mixed response: 44 per cent said ‘yes’, 32 per cent said ‘sometimes’ and 24 per cent said ‘no’. Professor Henry’s blog states:

“Surveys also suggest that female vets are disillusioned with their future career trajectory, and that they may be planning to leave the profession. This raises serious concerns, which become even more pronounced when we start to consider general trends in women’s business leadership//ownership across other sectors.”

Professor Henry calls on private practitioners, the corporates, professional bodies and those in the wider veterinary business landscape to share their views on the future of veterinary business: “If we want to avoid a drastic reduction in the number of private practices and a significant increase in corporatisation, then we need to stop talking about the ‘problem’ and start implementing solutions.

"In this regard, I don’t believe there is a single big solution; rather, in my view, it’s going to take several small solutions being implemented across the sector.”

Further Reading

You can view the full paper by Professor Colette Henry by clicking here.

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