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

Treanor, Lorna; Marlow, Susan


Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation


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.


Treanor, L., & Marlow, S. (2021). Paws for thought? analysing how prevailing masculinities constrain career progression for UK women veterinary surgeons. Human Relations, 74(1), 105-130.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 10, 2019
Publication Date Jan 1, 2021
Deposit Date Apr 29, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 7, 2019
Journal Human Relations
Print ISSN 0018-7267
Electronic ISSN 1741-282X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 74
Issue 1
Pages 105-130
Keywords Gender; Women; Career; Veterinary profession; Corporate masculinity; Entrepreneurial masculinity; Professional partnership; Self-employment
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