Following concerns at last year’s all male line-up, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has revealed that candidates standing in this year’s RCVS council elections are overwhelmingly female… and younger.
The Royal College has announced that 19 people are standing
in this year’s council elections – believed to be the highest number since records began – of which 10 candidates are women
. Not only is this the most women ever to stand, but it is in direct contrast to last year where all 13 candidates were men.
Additionally, whereas the average age of all elected council members in March 2013 was 56.5 (57 for women and 56 for men), the average age of this year’s candidates is 47 (45 for women and 48 for men).
The RCVS council candidates are:
Last year’s all-male turnout prompted concern from the profession
and calls for the college to investigate the reasons behind the lack of women and to take steps to redress the balance, in response to which then-president Jacqui Molyneux
invited feedback about the barriers to joining council.
Mrs Molyneux also set up a working party, chaired by council member Amanda Boag, to look at how participation could be widened, not only to women, but also younger members of the profession and those actively engaged in clinical practice. The working party suggested a number of initiatives, which included:
- a mentoring scheme
- providing more practical information about being a council member (see www.youtube.com/rcvsvideos)
- inviting prospective candidates to the RCVS to discuss the role in more detail.
Ms Boag said: “The college’s efforts to broaden participation in its election process seem to have paid dividends. I’m delighted there is so much more diversity amongst the election candidates this year, and that so many women have decided to throw their hat into the ring, especially as women now form more than 50% of the profession. I’m very much looking forward to the outcome of the elections, and hope that this dramatic increase in candidates in turn prompts an excellent turnout.”
In the Veterinary Nurse council elections, five candidates have put themselves forward – an increase of one from last year. They are:
VN council chairman Kathy Kissick said: “I’m really pleased there is an increase in VN candidates this year, especially on the back of the marked increase in VN turnout that we saw in last year’s elections. With all the changes continuing to face the VN profession, I can’t stress enough how important it is for all veterinary nurses to get involved in our council elections and I’d like to wish all five candidates the best of luck!”
In a slightly later start to the voting period this year, ballot papers and candidate details for both elections will be posted on March 19, and all votes must be cast by 5pm on April 25, 2014.