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J Can Dent Assoc. 2012;78:c1.

The feminization of dentistry: implications for the profession.

Author information

1
Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto ON. julia.mckay@utoronto.ca

Abstract

Over the last 40 years, the proportion of women in dentistry has been rising steadily, raising questions about the effects of this feminization on the profession. A review of the literature, although limited, highlights potentially important areas related to gender, including impact on work hours, practice models, professional incomes, the dentist-patient relationship, clinical philosophies, specialty practice, academia and leadership. Although cohorts of predominantly female dentists are only beginning to enter the workforce and, thus, it is difficult to predict the long-term effects, some trends are evident: women are less likely than men to own their practice; women may work 4-6 fewer hours a week and see fewer patients; there is a pay differential; female general practitioners and specialists appear more likely to work in urban centres; and women are less prominent in the specialties, academia and leadership roles. Thus, the profession may shift toward less entrepreneurship, more urbanization and, possibly, fewer clinical hours available to the population as a result of feminization. With the ultimate goal of excellence in patient care, this may entail increases in student enrolment, formal incentives for practice relocation to rural communities, more business education and policies to modify advanced education and training for women with children. This knowledge, although still not robust, is relevant for policy, educational institutions and professional governing bodies.

PMID:
22322017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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