The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has announced that 19 people are standing in this year’s RCVS Council elections, including, for the first time, more women than men, and a much lower average candidate age.

Of the 19 candidates – believed to be the highest number since records began – ten 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:

      
  • David        Bartram
  •   
  • David        Catlow
  •   
  • Camilla        Edwards
  •   
  • Caroline        Foalks
  •   
  • Edward        Gillams
  •   
  • Mandisa        Greene
  •   
  • David        Leicester
      
  • Thomas        Lonsdale
  •   
  • Susan        Macaldowie
  •   
  • Jacqueline        Molyneux
  •   
  • Peter        Moore
  •   
  • Sarah        Oxley
  •   
  • Susan        Paterson
  •   
  • Christopher        Pearson
      
  • Katherine        Richards
  •   
  • Janet        Ritchie
  •   
  • Peter        Robinson
  •   
  • Christine        Shield
  •   
  • Neil        Smith

 

Last year, the all-male candidate list 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. The then RCVS President Jacqui Molyneux invited feedback from the profession about the barriers to joining Council, and 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, including a mentoring scheme, providing more practical information about being a Council member (see www.youtube.com/rcvsvideos), and inviting prospective candidates to the RCVS to discuss the role in more detail.

“The College’s efforts to broaden participation in its election process seem to have paid dividends,” says Amanda Boag. “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 over 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:

  • Amanda-Jane      Erne
  • Tammy Ford
  • Hilary      Orpet
  • Amber      Richards
  • Megan      Whitehead

Kathy Kissick, Chairman of VN Council, says: “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 19 March 2014, and all votes must be cast, either online or by post, by 5pm on Friday, 25 April 2014.

In the meantime, the College is inviting all voters to think about the one question they would like to put to the candidates and submit it in time for this year’s ‘Quiz the Candidates’, to be broadcast by the Webinar Vet on the evening of 20 March. All questions received will be put to the candidates, who will each then answer two questions of their choice, as well as explaining what they consider sets them apart as a potential Council member. VN Council candidates will deliver their answers live at 8pm; RCVS Council candidates’ answers will be pre-recorded (due to the large number of candidates) and made available online around the same time.