Optometry elevating women
We stand on the shoulders of giants. As a profession, optometry is what it is today only because of the bold diligence of those doctors and advocates who came before; the ones emboldened enough to speak out and blaze the path that we all walk decades later. That's much the same story of how optometry came to welcome so many women not only into practice but also into positions of leadership.
Much has been made of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) data that for years has shown two-thirds of all full-time students and graduates are women. In fact, even 10 years ago, all but one optometry school had more female than male full-time students enrolled. That continues to this day. I point this out because we're seeing this level of representation come full circle among our advocates—and it's historic.
The AOA Board of Trustees comprises more women than ever before while three of the nation's largest optometric organizations—AOA, ASCO and the Academy—are led by women. This is true of many of our state boards and volunteers, our local societies and industry leaders, as well as AOA's own volunteer structure. The strong women in our profession are inspiring in their welcoming, encouraging support of one another, and importantly, in their support of optometry.
We're becoming much more inclusive and diverse as a profession—and that's a good thing, an absolute advantage to the direction we're heading and a direct reflection of the patients we serve. March is Women's History Month and while the nation celebrates the contributions of women in society, I want to take this opportunity to think about how far we've come as a profession and how much further still we can go.
Today, I'm encouraging everyone to get involved, volunteer and engage, just as those advocates who came before shaped optometric practice as we know it. Hopefully one day we, too, can be those shoulders on which the next generation stands.
Optometry’s Meeting® announces keynote speaker, special events for Washington, D.C.
Early-bird registration is available through Friday, March 31, so lock-in your low, AOA-member rate for four days of industry-leading education, networking, practice solutions and entertainment in the nation’s capital.
Developing tomorrow’s leaders, today
In 2017, the AOA and the American Optometric Student Association launched an ambitious initiative to bring 2,000+ students and newly graduated doctors of optometry to Washington, D.C., to promote career readiness and success, foster professional aspirations and develop the next generation. Called AOA+, the initiative is returning to Optometry’s Meeting® 2023, bigger and bolder than before. Six years later, what do those inaugural participants say about AOA+ as a catalyzing moment in their careers?
AOA redoubles plan advocacy; volunteers chart association’s path forward
Nearly 300 AOA volunteers convened in committee workgroups this past weekend in St. Louis, Missouri, to engage in association business, including developing impactful resources and advising optometry’s foremost advocate.