Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Women Veterinarians

An exotic species?: Sylvestor reads about Women Veterinarians.

Twas on a recent library mission that I came across a quaint book entitled Veterinarians and Their Patients by Charles Paul May, published in 1964. Chapter 7 deals exclusively with the topic of the female veterinarian, and makes for somewhat entertaining reading.
"Of 4000 veterinary students in North America in 1963, only about 150 were women, and not all of them would complete their course of studies. Many of them would marry fellow students, and they would make excellent assistants for their husbands, even serving as anesthetists."
Mr May tries to dispel some popular myths, pointing out that - contrary to popular opinion - women veterinarians are capable of working with large animals and sustaining careers for 25-40 years on occasion.
"The most misleading remarks are those indicating that professors, the public, and male veterinarians are prejudiced about women in this profession. If that were true, how could girls enter veterinary schools, serve as interns or assistants to men, and build up successful practices?"
I realise that such writing does not occur in a vacuum and Mr May was reflecting the predominant attitudes of the time, but we've come a long way since then (and hurrah for that).