IbisVision is celebrating International Women’s Day 2022

Tue 08th March 2022

Every year we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th. It’s a day of celebration in many countries across the world and is an important time to recognise women for their contributions to their work, families, and movements throughout history.

We’ve decided to look at the optical industry and some of the amazing women who have made it what it is today. Let’s take a look:


The first female optometrist

Gertude Stanton was reported to become the first licensed female optometrist in 1899. Representation of women in the optometry field was extremely limited at this time and continued to be so for many years. After Gertude began to pave the way for women to enter the sector there were still many barriers faced and by 1968 only 2.1% of active optometrists in the US were women; there was still much to be done in the industry! Great strides have been made since then however, and the 2018 annual report of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) showed that around 40% of fellows and 63% of candidates for fellowship were female.

{Facts and figures from The Journal of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry}


The first woman appointed Professor of Optometry in the United Kingdom

In a traditionally male dominated field, women began to find their place in the education of optometry. Shahina Pardhan became the first female Professor of Optometry in the United Kindgom in 1993. She has broken down many barriers for those coming after her and still continues to give guidance and advice to women in the sector. In a 2019 interview with The Ophthalmologist she shared, “If you start losing confidence, look to the women around you for advice. It was only with the help of my family and line managers that I was able to break down some of the barriers holding me back,” (theophthalmologist.com)


Leading the way in American optometry

As an ever-growing sector, the achievements of women in optometry continue to grow year on year. In the US we have been lucky to see many of these developments in our lifetime. Joan Exford became the first female president of the American Academy of Optometry in 1993 and the AOA followed the appointment of a female president in 2011 with Dori Carlson taking the position. These are all positive steps for representation in the sector and we hope to continue to see this happen.

{Information taken from Minnesota.aoa.org}


Optometrists named in the UK list of the top 100 female entrepreneurs

Dr Valarie Jerome and Roshni Dalia were both named within Small Business Britain’s #ialso100 campaign in 2021. Both optometrists have done a lot of great work for the optometry sector in the UK over the past few years with Dr Jerome offering remote eye care services during the Covid-19 pandemic and collecting prescriptions and shopping for those isolating in her area. Roshni Dalia qualified as an optometrist in 2012 and became a business owner at the young age of 27. She’s hoping to use her platform to inspire young woman to keep working towards their goals and encourage them to continue with hard work and determination in the sector. These women and many like them in their field are doing so much to inspire those around them as well as upcoming optometrists.

{Information taken from aop.org.uk}


These accomplishments are just some of the things achieved by women in this sector and there are many more across the entire healthcare profession. We continue to see the effects of these actions reflected everyday from women across the profession. It’s important to promote and celebrate these developments on this day and every day so we can strive to keep this growing representation for women in any and every industry.