As in all other lines of profession, women dentists encounter a very different set of challenges, benefits, hurdles, complications and experiences than do men.
It is important to go over these fine or conspicuous differences, and discuss them, in order to understand what it is truly like to be a dentist for life.
When dedication and passion come together with strong will, women are able to persevere through just about any obstacle in their career! However, knowing what is in store for us, or realising truths that may not have been apparent before, help us to be better prepared to face and deal with what our careers hold in store for us.
In 2011, a study was conducted in India by S. K. Pallavi and G. C. Rajkumar. The aim of the study was to review and understand the unique demands, challenges and benefits of being a woman dentist, particularly in South Asia.
The outcome of the study provided a clear, insider’s perspective of being a woman dentist, and the results are as follows:
Due to the societal orientation which regards women as primarily home makers, the responsibilities for family caretaking continues to fall disproportionately on women, and this fact could explain why women abandon their careers in the advanced stages.
Significant differences between males and females in work title and specialization were evident in an academic institution.
The majority of female dentists were found to be in private practice. Studies indicated that females are more likely to work part-time in private practice than males.
Also, it is found that women tend more to general dental practice and less to a combination of general and specialized practice.
In terms of job satisfaction, Women were much more contented with their work and enjoyed the contact with people, but they worked shorter hours and saw fewer patients than men. Females, on the average, rate caring or helping motives more highly than do males.
Working hours of female dentists do not differ significantly from the working hours of their male counterparts, until they have children.
The female dentists’ working hours showed a distinct drop as soon as they started a family.
It was also found that women dentists are more likely to take career break.
It is clear that childrearing and family responsibilities have a great impact on women’s working life. However dentistry is among those professions which are comparably more suited to women. Dentistry is full of the promise of a satisfactory and fulfilling professional life for women all over the world. This profession offers balance, job satisfaction, and an enjoyable career to women.