Women now dominate the field of veterinary medicine the result of a nearly 40-year trend that is likely to repeat itself in the fields of medicine and law.
That's the conclusion of a new study that found three factors that appear to be driving the change: the 1972 federal amendment that outlaws discrimination against female students; male applicants to graduate schools who may be deterred by a growing number of women enrolling; and the increasing number of women earning Bachelor's degrees in numbers that far exceed those of male graduates, says sociologist Anne E. Lincoln.
An assistant professor in the department of sociology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Lincoln is an expert on how occupations transition from being either male- or female-dominated.
Her study is the first of its kind to analyze the feminization of veterinary medicine from the perspective of examining the pool of applicant data to U.S. veterinary medical colleges from 1975 to 1995.
As of 2010, the veterinary profession is about 50 percent men and 50 percent women, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, while enrollment in veterinary medical colleges is about 80 percent women.
Departure from convention; new methodology
Conventional occupational research identifies a flip in the gender make-up of a profession by looking at the number of men and women who get hired into that profession, Lincoln said. The current study broke with that convention and instead measured the number of male and female applicants to veterinary medical colleges.
In looking at the applicants for each year, the study controlled for variables that could be a factor: class size, proportion of women on faculty, proportion of women in the classroom, increased tuition and declines in the profession's average salary. Lincoln found no evidence that any of those factors was statistically significant in explaining why more women than me
|Contact: Margaret Allen|
Southern Methodist University