August 23, 2007, - 2:29 pm

Pan-Feminist Affirmative Action Run Amok: 79%(!) of Veterinary School Spots go to WOMEN

If you’re male and hope to become a veterinarian, good luck.
In an outrageous turn of events as a result of affirmative action in favor of female applicants, today 79% of slots in America’s veterinary schools go to women. That’s about 4 out of 5 spots going to women, only 1 to men.
The Boston Globe reports on this disturbing trend of men being turned away from yet another whole profession. Now, at least, they are employing affirmative action the other way, but why have preferences in the first place?:

Recruiters from Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine recently fanned out to Massachusetts schools, looking for future vets. They hunted for top students and those with an aptitude for working with animals. They paid particular attention to boys.
But when 25 high school students arrived this month for a two-week stay at Tufts’s Adventures in Veterinary Medicine camp, all but four were girls. . . .
The program’s radical gender imbalance reflects a broad trend in the veterinary profession. While just 5 percent of veterinary students were women in the 1960s, today 79 percent of the seats at the nation’s 28 veterinary schools are occupied by females. The ratio is more dramatic at some schools, such as Tufts, where last year 89 percent of its first-year class were women; at Michigan State and University of California-Davis, 88 percent and 81 percent, respectively, of the incoming classes are women.
This year, for the first time, the number of practicing women veterinarians nationwide is equal to the number of practicing males.
There is little research to provide an explanation of the trend, but theories abound. The practice of veterinary medicine is considered more flexible and less time-intensive than some other professional fields, making it attractive to women who hope to have families. It pays, typically, less than fields such as human medicine, law, and dentistry — a factor that some say makes it unattractive to men who generally expect to be a home’s sole breadwinner.
Another theory is that women have been drawn to the field, and men have left it as it has transformed from one focused on large farm animals, valued for their practical use, to one that predominantly cares for pets. Many veterinarians now are expected to care not only for animals but for feelings of pets’ owners.
“It’s hard for guys to be so openly compassionate to fuzzy animals,” said K.C. Horigan, 25, of Scituate, a woman in her second year at Tufts veterinary school. [Gee, she’s not biased against men. Is she?] . . .
The predominance of women entering veterinary medicine is a remarkable reversal from just four decades ago when women struggled to gain admission to veterinary schools. It is also a departure from some other science fields — like engineering, computer science, and human medicine — where men continue to outnumber women in most degree programs.
The change is so dramatic that some veterinary medicine schools worry that the pendulum has swung too far and are taking steps to move it back. At the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, administrators encourage their alumni to take boys into their practices to serve as interns, and at the newly founded College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences, in Pomona, Calif., the admissions process takes gender into consideration, along with other factors.
“Every school in the country kills themselves trying to get men,” said Shirley Johnston, who became the nation’s first female veterinary school dean in 2003 at Western University. Today there are three female deans of veterinary schools in the United States.
Some educators worry that having so many women in the field will eventually divert talented men who might view veterinary medicine as exclusively “women’s work.” There are also concerns that the small numbers of men will leave holes in the profession, since women tend to steer clear of large animal medicine, despite the fact that technology enables women to handle large animals as well as men can.
Others say that after years of underrepresentation of women in veterinary medicine, their prominence in the field has no downside. Some say it could even serve as a reminder of women’s abilities at a time when controversies over women’s aptitudes in science are still sometimes questioned. . . .
“The students who are attending are getting brighter every year,” said Corinne Sweeney, associate dean at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “Having a majority gender is fine, so long as all feel welcome.”
Indeed, for some in the field, women’s over-representation is a point of pride.
“It’s great to have a field that is women dominated,” said Stefanie Kreiger, a Tufts graduate who co-owns a practice in Connecticut with another female veterinarian. “It’s not that I want to squeeze men out, but having so many women does feel important.”
Women began entering veterinary medicine in significant numbers in the 1970s, after the enactment of Title IX and other legislation mandating equal access. The balance began to tip in the 1980s, and the proportion of female applications and enrollment has increased since then, while male applications and enrollment have dropped off.
Educators and practitioners say the imbalance could correct itself with time. The field is changing, with an increasing focus on the prevention of animal borne diseases and biodefense — hard-edged science that some say men will find appealing.
But in the meantime, there are veterinarians-to-be out there like Colleen Ottomano, 17, of Hopkinton, who attended Tufts’s preveterinary program this summer.
“I think girls make great veterinarians. We are more patient than boys,” she said. “And you need to be because you can’t talk to an animal.”

Just wait until this happens in other fields, where you will notice it more. When someone needs to drag me out of a burning building, I think I’ll trust a man–on average–to do the job far better than a woman.

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8 Responses

I wonder if men like me will be granted any reparations for not being able to achieve what was rightfully ours but stolen by greedy selfish women and minorities. Not only have we had to endure the most unfair form of discrimination ever known to Mankind, but it has also destroyed our once great nation.

Robert S. Trojan on August 23, 2007 at 3:40 pm

It’s almost as lobsided in Pharmacy, where the ratio is now 65% female. I believe the trends are similar in medicine, where females have passed the 50% mark on the way to 65%.
These trends pose huge problems in the future, mainly related to the fact the female medical professionals often exit the workforce during childbearing years, and then only return on a part-time basis.

sonomaca on August 23, 2007 at 3:50 pm

My father and brother are Veterinarians. It is an honorable profession, and they are good at what they do. Yes, there are more women coming into the profession, and there is also a huge decline in large animal veterinarians, as you can get bit by a dog and it hurts or you can get maimed by a horse and get to go to the emergency room.
Also, I detest the “women make better vets because they have compassion”. Most people who work with animals have compassion, regardless of gender. You don’t go into this profession to make the big bucks- you go into other fields.

jennifernicole on August 23, 2007 at 5:45 pm

The lack of large animal vets will have a definite adverse impact on the American food supply. I live in Iowa, and we see a very few vets trying to minister to large numbers of farm animals. This same situation applies all over the upper Midwest, and it is getting worse. The women vets generally are not interested in this practice, and this is a critical shortage that will soon come to the more general attention of the nation.

Dr. D on August 23, 2007 at 7:51 pm

No offense, but now that we’re on the topic of gender roles… the best bloggers, too, are all men. Debbie’s a decent writer, but I’ll trust other men to do the political commentary from now on. As I do in law, medicine, etc. I’m really sick of these over-emotional rantings that female writers typically spurt out. Tons of CAPITALIZATION, weird punctuation, strange leaps of logic. Go figure. Everyone, keep the politics clear and the message simple: that was the principle of Karl Rove and that is what gets you national leverage these days. Don’t be a woman in these matters. There is a reason why proper Republicans would NEVER endorse a woman for president.

reasoner101 on August 23, 2007 at 9:52 pm

The Boston Globe article doesn’t say the gender imbalance is caused by affirmative action. It looks like more women are getting in because more women are applying. I don’t know whether this is good or bad, but it doesn’t look like a result of discrimination. There are more men in engineering school, because more men are applying there. So?

braise_allah on August 24, 2007 at 3:09 am

So let me get this straight: Over a period of 40 years, a large number of women have entered what was a male-dominated profession, and you’re “blaming” affirmative action and feminists? Please.
Public universities give extra credit to women and people of color, but they do the same for athletes and “legacy” admissions and people whose daddies have donated buildings. And what about private schools? I’d guess the chances of a practicing Muslim getting into Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University would be either slim or none. Where’s the outrage over those “preferences”? There is none.
But let women achieve gender equity in some small measure, and you’ll have somebody stand up to complain long and loud about the unfairness of affirmative action and dire predictions that men will eventually disappear altogether – presumably reduced to selling pencils on a street corner. Why is that?

LiberalSpirit on August 24, 2007 at 9:44 am

“All Creatures Great and Small?” Not only has there been a drastic drop-off of large-animal vets but vets specializing in only dogs or only cats is common now. I can understand the popularity of female vets – demented anthropomorphics want a ‘compassionate’ vet who share their sentimental gush. A professional man skilled in the objective practice of veterinary medicine would find it hard to ‘put out’ in this way.

poetcomic1 on August 26, 2007 at 11:41 am

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