Spring / printemps 2020
Focus on Higher Education

“One of the Boys”: Women at the Ontario Veterinary College in the Twentieth Century

Kevin Woodger
University of Toronto
Elizabeth A. Stone
Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph
Published April 1, 2020
  • history of medicine,
  • postsecondary education,
  • women in science,
  • veterinarian,
  • veterinary education,
  • veterinary medicine
  • ...More
How to Cite
Woodger, Kevin, and Elizabeth A. Stone. 2020. “‘One of the Boys’: Women at the Ontario Veterinary College in the Twentieth Century”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire De l’éducation 32 (1). https://doi.org/10.32316/hse-rhe.v32i1.4729.


For much of the twentieth century, veterinary medicine was a male-dominated profession. This dominance extended to the veterinary schools, which acted as professional gatekeepers. Gender, therefore, was a central organizing principle of the veterinary profession as well as of veterinary education. We argue that the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) was central to the process of professional gatekeeping and was a key site for the training of women veterinarians. Women applying to OVC faced admission practices that favoured male applicants. Those women who were accepted to OVC were met with the masculine culture of veterinary medicine. Despite these difficulties, women actively pursued veterinary training at OVC, including in areas for which they were widely believed to be unsuitable. However, while the number of women at OVC increased during the 1970s and 1980s, the view that women were not suited to veterinary medicine persisted among at least some faculty members.