Given the fact that only 3% of women were in dentistry in the 1970s, these days, we are seeing more women embrace the field of dentistry, from owning their dental practices to taking up leadership roles in dental organizations. The number of women taking up dental roles continues to increase, representing a dramatic shift in the entire dental workforce’s makeup. Many suggest that if the future of dentistry is female, then there will be more positive impacts on the industry as a whole.
Although we have women dentists running their dental clinics as CEOs, there is still a gender disparity issue in dentistry. A few documented facts about the gender disparity in the dental industry are disturbing, so it is necessary to sensitize more women to take up dental roles. Let us look at some of the ideas to improve this gender issue.
We should never underestimate the power of mentorship in bringing up the professionals society needs. Many professionals reveal that they got to where they are because someone in the sector inspired them to. We have to help one another to succeed. Many notable women figures in dentistry can mentor young upcoming female dentists by cheering them on and continually challenging them. A look through dental staff lists shows young women coming through into the once male-dominated dental health world. Everyone needs coaching. If women see more female dentists excelling in the industry, they can emulate and aspire to be like them. Women in dentistry, especially those in leadership positions, should encourage the upcoming ones through mentorship.
More women to take up leadership roles in dentistry.
Leadership development programs aimed at encouraging females exist in most dental schools. To redefine the traditional gender role within our society, more women must take up leadership roles and spread the word about the presence of women professionals. If women leaders can create a supportive environment for female dentists, many would go a long way in establishing themselves in the industry. Although challenges still exist in the industry, we have come a long way from where we were. Supporting the ideas female dentists bring to the table can only strengthen the sector.
Continuing education and training
The negative notions that women are to be seen and not heard, which is a subject for feminist authors, is still prevalent in many male-dominated communities globally. We must break down this barrier. Continuing education and training are necessary to ensure that female dental professionals are included in all the areas of achieving dental proficiency. Female dentists who enter the dental industry should be ready to continue education to gain more mastery in the dental industry. Through education, they can be able to build more collaborative terms with the males in the industry.
Improving the life-work balance
Giving birth remains a woman’s responsibility, and as such, they need more career flexibility. Balancing family and work remains a big struggle for many working women with families. Employed female dentists should be given more work flexibility to balance between their families and work and continue with their education.
One last thought
As we head into the future of dentistry, we must emphasize the need for mentorship and role models. Female dentists should be willing to mentor upcoming dentists and raise them to better professionals in the industry.