Women in Optometry—February 2013

Nearing the Tipping Point?

One of the questions that Women In Optometry (WO) is asked occasionally—sometimes tongue in cheek, but just as often seriously—is when the magazine will have outlived its purpose. After all, women have been the majority of graduates from optometry schools for a number of years. Doesn’t that mean there’s some sort of parity already?

The classroom includes a very small number compared to the universe of practicing ODs in North America. And looking at those larger numbers, the profession is just beginning to see the tipping point in Maryland. The statistics are changing, and they might even be changing faster than once predicted. But there are a number of factors involved. It could be that older ODs (mostly men) are deciding to hang up their white coats a little earlier. They may not want to make the investments in technology or work in an environment moving more toward managed vision insurance.

It seems quite certain that the trend will continue. But it’s also possible that women may never achieve the two-thirds majority in the workplace that they’ve reached in optometry schools. It’s possible that there will be sectors within the profession that draw more women and others that draw fewer.

We’re not making predictions. But we do appreciate the story as it unfolds. WO is now starting its eighth year of publication. So it seems an apt time to thank our readers for their feedback, for the stories they have shared with us and for taking the time to point out women who have influenced or impressed them. As long as WO has compelling stories to tell, the publication still has a purpose.

Marjolijn Bijlefeld, Director of Custom Publications
Practice Advancement Associates