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J Dent Educ. 2018 Oct;82(10):1022-1035. doi: 10.21815/JDE.018.105.

An International Survey of Female Dental Students' Perceptions About Gender Bias and Sexual Misconduct at Four Dental Schools.

Author information

1
Chris S. Ivanoff, DDS, is Associate Professor of Bioscience Research and Director of Global Outreach, College of Dentistry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center; Diana M. Luan, PhD, MS, MPA, is Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics and Education Director, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD; Timothy L. Hottel, DDS, MS, MBA, DBA, is Professor of Prosthodontics, College of Dentistry, and Director of Statewide Oral Health Initiatives, University of Tennessee Health Science Center; Bogomil Andonov, DDS, MS, is Assistant Professor of Operative Dentistry and Endodontics, Faculty of Dental Medicine, Medical University of Plovdiv, Plovdiv, Bulgaria; Luiz Evaristo Ricci Volpato, DDS, MS, PhD, is Professor. University of Cuiabá, Faculty of Dentistry, Cuiabá, Brazil; Reena R. Kumar, BDS, MDS, is Principal and Dean, Divya Jyoti College of Dental Sciences and Research, Modinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India; Mark Scarbecz, MA, PhD, is Professor and Associate Dean for Institutional Affairs, College of Dentistry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center civanoff@uthsc.edu.
2
Chris S. Ivanoff, DDS, is Associate Professor of Bioscience Research and Director of Global Outreach, College of Dentistry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center; Diana M. Luan, PhD, MS, MPA, is Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics and Education Director, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD; Timothy L. Hottel, DDS, MS, MBA, DBA, is Professor of Prosthodontics, College of Dentistry, and Director of Statewide Oral Health Initiatives, University of Tennessee Health Science Center; Bogomil Andonov, DDS, MS, is Assistant Professor of Operative Dentistry and Endodontics, Faculty of Dental Medicine, Medical University of Plovdiv, Plovdiv, Bulgaria; Luiz Evaristo Ricci Volpato, DDS, MS, PhD, is Professor. University of Cuiabá, Faculty of Dentistry, Cuiabá, Brazil; Reena R. Kumar, BDS, MDS, is Principal and Dean, Divya Jyoti College of Dental Sciences and Research, Modinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India; Mark Scarbecz, MA, PhD, is Professor and Associate Dean for Institutional Affairs, College of Dentistry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Abstract

As women enter the dental profession in increasing numbers in North America and around the world, the questions of how they perceive their environment and what kind of barriers they face are important subjects to be addressed. The aim of this study was to assess and compare women dental students' perceptions of bias in their environment and experiences of sexual misconduct at one dental school in each of four countries. In spring 2017, 1,293 female students at four dental schools in the U.S., Bulgaria, Brazil, and India were invited to participate in a 24-item survey developed by researchers from the four countries; 990 students responded (response rate 76.6%). The overall majority of the respondents reported thinking the admissions process at their school was fair (79.7%); but a fifth of U.S. and Brazilian students perceived their school was not fully embracing of females, with most Bulgarian students agreeing (87.2%) and all Indian students disagreeing. Most respondents overall perceived that male faculty members did not favor male students (79.5%) and did not think there was discrimination against female students by faculty (87.1%), but half of the U.S. respondents reported feeling discriminated against by both male faculty and male students. When the responses "I've been verbally harassed" and "I've been somewhat verbally harassed" were combined, 10.1% of the U.S. respondents reported verbal harassment, compared to 20% of Brazilian, 15% of Bulgarian, and 2% of Indian respondents. When the responses "I've been sexually assaulted" and "I've been somewhat sexually assaulted" were combined, 6% of U.S. respondents reported being sexually assaulted, compared to 6.2% of Brazilian, 2.5% of Bulgarian, and none of the Indian respondents. Almost half (46.9%) of these students overall perceived their school was not or only somewhat vigilant about issues of sexual misconduct, and only 54% said they would feel comfortable or very comfortable reporting misconduct. These results suggest that academic dental institutions in all four countries need improvements to make their environments more equitable and free of bias and sexual misconduct.

KEYWORDS:

dental education; equal access; female students; gender issues; harassment; perceptions

PMID:
30275136
DOI:
10.21815/JDE.018.105
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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