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J Dent Educ. 2013 Jun;77(6):810-6.

Women's motivation to become dentists in Brazil.

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School of Dentistry, Federal University of Parana, Curitiba, Parana, Brazil.


There has been a marked increase of women in dentistry in Brazil and in many countries around the world. The behavioral mechanisms behind the choice of career differ between men and women, and the inclination to care for others is thought by some to be more present in women than it is in men. This article discusses the reasons that lead women to choose dentistry as a profession in Brazil and the impact of feminization on the current and future profile of the profession, based on the ethics of care. The authors' review of the relevant literature published between 2000 and 2011, primarily in Brazil, suggests that whereas men have tended to choose dentistry as a good business opportunity, women have tended to base their decision on relations with other people and the flexibility of practicing the profession. Many women dentists have been found to decide to work fewer hours, report more interruptions in their activities, and have less preference to work in private practice than men dentists. In the view of service users and dental auxiliaries in Brazil, women dentists invest more time in their patients and communicate in a more pleasant, sensitive, and friendly manner. The conclusion suggests that characteristics often associated with women can affect the dental profession in Brazil by introducing greater concern with the promotion of health and other people's well-being in contrast to traditional dentistry based on curative procedures.


Brazil; professionalism; women dentists; women in dental education

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