Vet Futures guest blogger says women are less prepared to take on veterinary leadership roles

In our first guest blog Professor Colette Henry, Head of Department of Business Studies, Dundalk Institute of Technology, argues that women are “simply less prepared to come forward to take on business leadership roles” and states that, as the veterinary profession becomes increasingly female, this raises serious concerns.

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 lively discussion concluded that doing nothing to address the gender inequality that exists within the veterinary profession is not an option, and Professor Henry echoes that sentiment in her blog.

Vet Futures is a jointly powered project from the BVA and 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.

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

Professor Henry’s blog suggests that veterinary schools could do more to develop young women’s business leadership potential and so this month’s online 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% said ‘yes’, 32% said ‘sometimes’ and 24% 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.”

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