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Veterinary session

All gender issues? How women are affecting the Veterinary profession in Germany - A review of the past 20 years
Saur Ruth Maria - year 5
Veterinary Surgeon AniCura Wahlstedt GmbH; University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Veterinary Forensics, Law and Economics
Supervisors: Dr. Erik Diez, Dr. László Ózsvári


The veterinary profession in Germany is influenced by a variety of societal changes and characterized by a high proportion of female veterinarians (63.28% in 2020/21). Due to feminization the veterinary profession faces great challenges posed on it by both a gender and a generation shift in society.

The aim of my study was to survey the most important opinions of veterinarians and veterinary students on causes, relevance and impact of feminization on the veterinary profession in Germany by combining a sociological and a gender perspective in evaluating the participants` experiences and assessments.

By means of SurveyMonkey an online questionnaire containing 23 questions was designed and filled in between May 4. and September 3. 2021 and 266 filled questionnaires were available for evaluation. The participants` (veterinarians, students of veterinary medicine) motives being decisive for their career choice, their assessment regarding income, career chances and the compatibility of work and family or private life as well as regarding the surplus of veterinarians in some fields of veterinary practice and a shortage of veterinarians e.g. in farm animal medicine were surveyed and analyzed by the statistical program provided by SurveyMonkey.

The feminization of the profession was mostly viewed critically (males 48.79%, female 41.52%). Only a minority of the respondents estimated the willingness to work in this profession for life as positive (7.80% female, 0% male). Four aspects turned out to be most impacting the profession and should be improved in future: the work-life balance, the income, the working times and the public perception of veterinary profession. The highest priority was given the compatibility of work and private life or family (87,7%), closely followed by the aspect of working conditions and work organization (86.04%) and the aspect of income (80.38%). On fourth place of aspects to be changed in the future was the appreciation of veterinary profession in society that is aware of the importance of this profession for society as a whole (59.62%). Job security (30.57%) and career opportunities (27.55%) were lower weighted topics. The feminization coexists with inequalities especially with regard to womens` responsibility for reconciling professional and private tasks and was assessed as the main gender specific difference in practicing the profession (male 53.85%, female 66.82%). Inequalities in career chances were mentioned by a percentage of more than half of the female respondents (56.31%) and inequalities in salaries by more than a third of female vets (37.56%).

The results indicated a general consensus on the effect of feminization and suggest improvements in compatibility of work and private life, as well as salaries and working times.

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