Paws for thought? Analysing how prevailing masculinities constrain career progression for UK women veterinary surgeons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Nottingham


The structure of veterinary medicine is changing rapidly from that of traditional small privately owned practices to one of corporate franchises, often positioned within retail outlets. Accompanying this trend has been the increasing presence of women, such that they now dominate clinical practice. To what extent are these two issues, increasing feminisation and corporatisation, linked? Since the mid-1990s, corporate providers have largely displaced the traditional self-employed practice ownership/partnership model. This has informed a blame discourse whereby feminisation is associated with industry restructuring given women’s alleged preferences for predictable, flexible corporate employment, plus a lack of entrepreneurial ambition towards practice ownership. Drawing upon in-depth semi-structured interviews with women veterinary surgeons and key industry stakeholders, we critically analyse such arguments. We illustrate that diverse notions of corporate masculinity, operating in parallel with the entrepreneurial masculinity of traditional practice, generate this blame discourse and underpin women’s limited progression into self-employed practice ownership. This has implications for the future structure of the profession and the careers of forthcoming generations of veterinary surgeons.


Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Relations
Early online date10 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jun 2019


  • career, corporate masculinity, entrepreneurial masculinity, gender, professional partnership, veterinary profession