The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies Bicentenary

Events celebrate women working in science

Campus marks International Day of Women and Girls in Science by reflecting on progress and looking towards gender equality.

A series of events at the Vet School campus has been held to mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

A lecture programme explored the history of women in veterinary medicine, the importance of a positive research culture and the future of gender equality.

Affiliated events highlighted opportunities to strengthen career progression and support women in science now and in the future.

Activities sought to raise awareness that although women are well represented in veterinary medicine, there is still under-representation of women in senior roles.

Series of talks

Professor Lisa Boden, Head of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, spoke at the start of a campus lecture programme that reflected on the history of women in veterinary science, and highlighted the contemporary barriers and opportunities for women in the profession.

Dr Andrew Gardiner, Senior Veterinary Clinical Lecturer, who has expertise in veterinary history, told the story of the first women in the veterinary profession.

He relayed how early female vets faced discrimination and social prejudice in being accepted into the profession in the first half of the 20th century. It took many years for women to win recognition alongside men, he explained.

The event also heard from Professor Julia Dorin, Deputy Dean for Research Culture and Integrity in the University’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

Professor Dorin spoke of the benefits of equity, diversity and inclusion for staff, students and the wider University, in helping people feel valued and motivated and in enabling a sense of community.

To weave equity, diversity and inclusion into our workplace culture, we must recognise the barriers and determine the enablers that are needed, such as managing gender bias and having strong role models, she said.

As we climb up the ladder, we must pull others up behind us to help them thrive and flourish.

Professor Lisa BodenHead of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Addressing gender bias

The event also heard the outcomes of research into patterns of representation in veterinary science.

Alina Paczesna, Ishita Parakh, Kathryn Pratschke, Poppy Bristow and Jill MacKay set out their findings, including that women are significantly under-represented in veterinary literature. They also found that conferences consistently under-represent women in favour of male speakers.

The research project, funded by the School, is being conducted in partnership with Gender.Ed, a cross-University of Edinburgh hub for gender and sexualities studies. The results of this project will be shared in publications and conference presentations throughout 2024.

We hope that the results of this research will help us explore the processes creating the disparities and investigate how we can tackle inequalities in knowledge creation and leadership.

Kelly BlacklockSenior Lecturer, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Research showcase

Female researchers submitted posters highlighting their research to mark the day, with prizes awarded in undergraduate, postgraduate and staff categories.

Prize-winner Dr Natalie Ring presented her poster on speedy diagnosis of infections in dogs, to inform appropriate use of antimicrobial treatments.

Supporting charity

The Campus is also supporting Dress for Success Scotland, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women.

The charity provides professional clothing, a support network and career development tools to help women.

Staff and students across the Campus have been asked to donate clothing and accessories to the charity throughout February.

Science workshops

To mark the day, female staff and students from across Easter Bush Campus led a full-day science workshop for high school students from 15 different schools in nine Scottish local authorities.

The LabCamp workshop, the first in a series of activities being organised by the Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre during the February mid-term school break, enabled young people to get hands-on with real laboratory equipment, meet scientists and learn more about studying and working in animal and veterinary science.

Related links

Campus events for International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre

About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies 

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than 800 staff and almost 1400 students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos. 

The School comprises: 

The Roslin Institute 

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems 

The Roslin Innovation Centre 

The Hospital for Small Animals 

Equine Veterinary Services 

Farm Animal Services 

Easter Bush Pathology 

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education 

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.