Time to Tackle the Issues Pertaining to the Working Lives of Women in Dentistry, says Dr Sonia S Joshi


  Posted by: Dental Design      8th March 2021

The Women Dentists Network is excited to be launching their new digital forum in line with International Women’s Day ‘Choose to Challenge Campaign’, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The Women Dentists Network is a group of female dentists who came together to encourage and support women dentists to follow their passions, overcome challenges and excel at the forefront of all areas in dentistry including Clinical Practice, Specialisation, Professional Bodies, Education, Research, Industry and Government. 

The number of women registrants in dentistry has risen significantly over the past 20 years, with over half of current registrants being women.  Whilst this should be lauded, there are still a number of aspects within the profession which need to evolve to accommodate this shift in demographics.  Each of us have experienced, first-hand, the challenges in developing our careers amidst busy lives; gender biases influenced by cultural and societal norms; and multiple demands on our resources.

Many other professions have well-established women’s network groups to help foster and promote the influence of women in their professions. The Dental Profession is an outlier in this area, which we hope will be remedied by the growth of the Women Dentists Network, which aims to provide a mutually collaborative forum to tackle issues pertaining to the working lives of women in dentistry. These include women’s health and wellbeing, encouraging and mentoring women to enter leadership roles, increasing women’s’ representation within dentistry and addressing issues relating to gender pay gaps.

Tackling gender bias in salary is a key remit for the Women Dentists Network as unequal pay is just one element to be considered at the intersection of equal rights at work.  A recent review of ONS data by resume.io found that dentistry topped the list of female dominated professions for the largest gender pay gap between male and female earners.  Despite being a female dominated profession with 55.6% of registrants being women, Dentistry had nearly a 40% pay gap between male and female earners in the UK based on median hourly rate of pay.[1],[2]

‘We believe International Women’s Day not only provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in dentistry but also to challenge the status quo.  By questioning the norms that often restrain our ability to grow, we can aspire to be more and pioneer meaningful change within our profession which is something we can all benefit from.’

For women dentists who would be interested in joining, please visit the website www.womendentistsnetwork.com. There are additional memberships for friends and supporters. Please see the website for further details.

[1] The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings reports the gender pay gap based on the median rate of hourly pay, excluding overtime, and it’s calculated as a percentage difference between men’s and women’s median hourly pay.

[2] https://resume.io/blog/57-jobs-dominated-by-women-with-the-biggest-gender-pay-gap

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