Article Text

Feminisation: threat or opportunity?
  1. L. Clare V. Allen, MA, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS
  1. Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ES, e-mail: lcva2{at}
  • Clare Allen is a senior teaching associate in curriculum development and innovation at the University of Cambridge. She has a PhD from the Ohio State University on the career choices of veterinary students. She also teaches equine husbandry and handling at Merton Hall Farm and is a member of the joint BVA/RCVS Vet Futures Action Group.


Feminisation is a term used in the social sciences to describe a profound shift in the gender balance from male to female within a population. The veterinary profession has experienced such a shift over the past 30 years. Research has shown that feminisation can have paradoxical effects on gender equality and status for a profession. However, Clare Allen suggests that, by understanding the processes behind feminisation, and responding appropriately, there is reason to be optimistic for the future of the veterinary profession.

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