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Monday, March 5, 2012

Gender and Jobs for Veterinarians

Posted March 5, 2012
By Dr. Donald F. Smith, Cornell University

Four decades ago, only 10% of graduating veterinarians were women. With the passing of Title IX and the removal of gender bias in veterinary college admissions during the 1970s, approximately four out of five veterinary students are now female. The number of female veterinarians now exceeds the number of male veterinarians (AVMA members). However, contrary to conventional wisdom and numerous articles, the number of male veterinarians in the U.S. has remained stable for the past five years. This presumably relates to the fact that their retirement balances the number of men receiving their veterinary degrees and entering the profession for the first time.

Number of Female and Male Veterinarians (AVMA members)
in the U.S. between 2006 and 2011 (see footnote)

The following chart show the distribution of men and women in private clinical practice in the United States. The total number of companion animal veterinarians (dogs, cats, pet birds, rodents and amphibians) vastly outnumbers those engaged in large animal, mixed animal or other species. Six years ago, there were many more men than women in companion animal practice but women now exceed men by almost 25%. Most of the equine-oriented students in veterinary colleges today are women and this is reflected in the near parity of equine practitioners in private clinical practice. Despite the preponderance of men in food animal practice, an increasing number of women veterinary students are now interested in livestock practice.

Number of Female and Male Veterinarians (AVMA members)
in Clinical Practice in the U.S. in 2011, by Species (see footnote)

The following chart shows the number veterinarians, by gender, in public and corporate employment. Women now outnumber men in universities and colleges; however, men remain the majority in federal and state/local governments, and in industry. There are now equal numbers in the uniformed services. The "other" category includes non profit organizations and animal shelters, where women are employed in larger numbers. 

Number of Female and Male Veterinarians (AVMA members)
in Public and Corporate Employment in the U.S. in 2011 (see footnote)

Footnote (reference): Market Research Statistics of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Dr. Smith invites comments at