RCVS Charitable Trust partners with Imperial College London and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to co-fund research doctorate entitled “Veterinary training and veterinary work: a female perspective, 1919-2000”.
The RCVS Charitable Trust is working in partnership with Imperial College London and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to co-fund a doctorate entitled “Veterinary training and veterinary work: a female perspective, 1919-2000”.
This will look at the shift in women’s expectations, experiences, professional networks and career trajectories, and examine how and why certain veterinary activities came to be regarded as suitable (or unsuitable) work for women.
In the course of this research the personal collections of two prominent members of the veterinary profession, Connie Ford and Dame Olga Uvarov, will be catalogued, to make these papers more accessible to both professional researchers and more generalist readers.
Dame Olga was the first woman president of the RCVS, while Connie was a highly respected specialist in the infertility of cattle, her work into which earned her an MBE in 1970. In retirement, Connie researched the life and work of Britain’s first woman vet, Aleen Crust. Her biography was published in 1990.
Clare Boulton, RCVS Charitable Trust librarian and project supervisor, explained: “This exciting project is an opportunity to really use the archival material held by the RCVS Charitable Trust Library, interview transcripts and surveys, to describe and analyse the educational and work experiences of successive generations of female British vets.
“It’s great to be able to work with other academic institutions on a project of this nature so we can share expertise – and make the most of the research findings,” she added.
The research will be carried out by Julie Hipperson, who holds an MA in modern history from King’s College London, and whose interests include women in the professions in the twentieth century, and rural environments and communities.
She said: “I hope new insights will be gained into the most famous of veterinary female pioneers. More than this, however, I will be looking at the mainstream of female vets, their aspirations, motivations and achievements since 1919, and also the obstacles they encountered, in order to contextualise the ‘feminisation’ of the profession.
“This is a sizeable challenge, but one which I hope will be invaluable not only to the veterinary profession, but also to understand more fully women in the professions throughout the twentieth century.”