Gender shift

Gender shift

Women are less likely to own a veterinary practice, even when you account for age.
Aug 01, 2008
By staff

Practice ownership divide (illustrations by Marci Roth).
The number of women entering the veterinary profession has climbed, but men still outnumber women more than three to one when it comes to practice ownership. Yes, of course, you might say. Most owners are older, and the number of female veterinarians has only started rising dramatically in the last five years or so. Naturally their bosses are the men who graduated before the gender barrier really began to crumble.

Ownership by decade.
Not so fast. With some help from the AVMA, we crunched the practice ownership numbers by year of graduation, and here's what we found: Every decade's worth of female graduates was less likely than men to go the ownership route—see the accompanying charts for the exact breakdown. So why do fewer women want to own? According to the 2007 Veterinary Economics Business Issues Study, 80 percent of female associates who don't want to own a practice said stress is their biggest negative.

In addition to stress, owning a practice can put major limitations on a veterinarian's personal life—there's the long hours and potential financial risk. But there are women practice owners out there. Dr. Julie Cappel owns a small animal veterinary practice in Warren, Mich. It was always her dream to start a new practice. But with young kids at home, she realized that if she bought into an existing multi-doctor practice she could still spend time with her children while the practice earned revenue. "Of course, ownership has its ups and downs," Dr. Cappel says. "But it has been a great fit for me."

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