Female optometrists and the race for equality

Women outnumber men in optometry – but do they reach the senior positions and salary levels they deserve? Jo Waters reports.

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Women now make up 57.9% of optometrists (COptom, 2016) and 68% of optometry undergraduates (Powell, 2018). The future of the profession, it seems, is female.

“Optometry is an increasingly popular career choice for female undergraduates – it’s perhaps not quite as antisocial as other healthcare professions such as nursing or medicine, while still offering opportunities for flexible working,” says Sarah Canning MCOptom, Consultant Optometrist and Head of Optometry at Moorfields Hospital.

But does strength of numbers equate to higher numbers of women in senior positions and equal pay? Or is there still a glass ceiling that keeps most female optometrists in lower-paying jobs? 

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