The rise of women in chiropractic
by Patty Ribley, DC
There’s a shift occurring within chiropractic that is - and has been - taking place at a gradual and steady pace. As it continues to gain momentum, it’s apparent it will be the impetus and driving force that propels our noble profession to incredible new heights. This phenomenon is the rise in the number of women going into chiropractic and their growing influence.
Over the last 10-15 years, this increase has snowballed into what can now be seen as monumental proportions. Chiropractic colleges are enrolling females at a greater rate than ever before, not just in sheer numbers, but in comparison to male enrollment in these same schools. Some colleges are exhibiting numbers so high that if this rate keeps up, the next 20 years will reveal more women in the chiropractic profession than men.
Something I certainly won’t be surprised to see as these numbers keep shifting and growing, is the increase of incredible women leaders in the profession.
The truth of what chiropractic offers to humanity - because it’s an innately nurturing profession - is very appealing to women. Women are drawn to chiropractic for its simplicity and attracted to the Universal Principle on which it’s based. Truth and freedom resonate within the soul, and especially with those who wish to make a difference on our planet. This shift is occurring as more people awaken to "that special something" that calls one to serve.
When I think of all the amazing women who’ve been a part of chiropractic since 1895, so many names come to mind there’s no way to list and remark on each one. Still, I do want to take this opportunity to highlight and honor those women, past and present, who’ve had a huge impact on the profession.
Obviously, Mabel Palmer, a most inspiring and powerful woman, heads the list. Mabel was the wife of BJ Palmer, as well as an author, an innovative chiropractor, a mentor to many, a professor at Palmer College for 30 years, and a leader. As wife and confidant, she supported BJ throughout his career in much of his work in the development of chiropractic.
Recognized by the profession as “Chiropractor of the Year,” Shawn Powers, DC is a regular presenter across the globe who’s devoted to the advancement of the profession. She founded the Chiropractic Warriors, PowerSource Coaching, and multiple family practices. Dr. Powers is a member of and has served on the boards of multiple state organizations, including the WCWC, Royal Chiropractic Knights of the Roundtable, and is one of the founding members of The League of Chiropractic Women, an organization dedicated to all women who love and support chiropractic. As CEO of PowerSource Coaching, you’ll find her loving life in Austin, Texas, adjusting, writing and providing personalized success strategies for chiropractors all around the world.
Dr. Sharon Gorman, a 1984 Life Chiropractic College graduate, who began her career in Pennsylvania and owned four successful offices at one time, is a force to be reckoned with in the chiropractic universe. She’s a world-renowned speaker, motivator, leader, and a DC who brings the principle of chiropractic with passion and enthusiasm. She’s served on the board of Life University for the past decade, and has currently relocated to Roswell, Georgia, where she’s opened another successful practice. Dr. Gorman is co-president of The League of Chiropractic Women.
These are a just few examples of what women can accomplish and are accomplishing within chiropractic. All of us have long stood on the shoulders of men who were and are giants in our profession, allowing a new generation of leaders to stream forth. Yet, our new and blossoming landscape has a noticeable difference. The giants of chiropractic today now stand shoulder-to- shoulder with the great women in our wonderful profession. This is truly an exciting and rewarding time to be alive and practicing chiropractic!
(Dr. Patty Ribley is in private family practice with her husband, Larry Ribley, DC, in Tampa, Florida. They have a daughter who’s currently attending chiropractic college in the hope of following in her mother’s footsteps. Dedicated to her practice, honored to serve her community, and always seeking to give back, Dr. Ribley is a passionate speaker for various groups around the country.)
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