I was reading a DVM magazine today. There was an articleabout the number of veterinarians that were set to graduate in 2012. According to the article, there were 2524 new veterinary graduates in 2012, which is a 2% increase from 2011. They broke down the number of graduates by school, listing the size of the graduating classes of all U.S. veterinary schools. The chart in the article also divided each school’s class size by gender, and that’s the part that really caught my eye. There were 82 students in my veterinary class at the University of Florida, in 1988. The class was divided exactly 50-50 in terms of gender: 41 males and 41 females. I looked at the makeup of University of Florida’s graduating class for 2012, and was surprised to see that the class was now 71% women and 29% men. The numbers for all of the schools combined are even more striking: 78% women, 22% men! Auburn University in Alabama had the highest percentage of men, although this fell well short of 50%. (It was 40%) Tufts University, in Massachusetts, had the biggest dichotomy: 88% women, 12% men! As far as the total number of veterinarians in the entire country, women took the lead in 2009, with there being 44,802 women vets compared with 43196 men.
Why has the veterinary profession shifted so dramatically from a male-dominated field to one where women are now taking the lead?