– Dr Nupur Shrirao’s Editorial for Volume 6, Issue 7
Being a woman in the field of dentistry can come with its own set of challenges. Biological changes, workplace harassment, time limitations and marriage restrictions are some of the gender specific problems that only women dentists have to face.
You can read in detail about the challenges faced by women dentists here.
Every individual’s experience may vary, so it’s essential to listen to the specific needs of women dentists in order to tailor solutions accordingly. However, there are seven generic solutions that can help women dentists overcome most of these obstacles and thrive in their profession. Here are some possible solutions:
Establishing mentorship programs specifically for women dentists can provide guidance, support, and career advice from experienced professionals who have faced similar challenges. This can help women to accept that their challenges, though unique are also somewhat common to the point of being universal, and with this awareness, the journey may become easier. If such programs are available in your area, do not hesitate to be a part of them.
Creating networking events and platforms where women dentists can connect with each other, share experiences, and build professional relationships can help foster a sense of community and support.
We organised the third instalment of DentalReach Dental Divas Summit (DRDDS #3) this month and not only did the 20 Expert Women Speakers network amongst themselves, but the participants also shared their experiences with each other! We are still in touch with them and the feedback they provided has been heart warming.
If you cannot create such opportunities, be a part of organizations that can! The last best strategy is to attend such programs and socialise! Be visible and approachable, go out there and a
Encouraging women dentists to pursue ongoing education and professional development opportunities will not only enhance their skills but also boost their confidence and credibility within the dental community.
Our intention behind organising DRDDS 3 was providing a gender specific platform for outstanding women dentists to provide continuing dental education to delegate dentists of all genders. Our third conference of this sort since 2020, only suggests the high rate of success!
Dental practices should implement policies that promote gender equality and provide a supportive work environment for all employees. This includes fair compensation, flexible work schedules, maternity leave policies, and opportunities for career advancement. Implementing inclusive workplace policies that address issues like workplace harassment are a must, especially if the clinic or institute has a mix of genders in staff.
Offering leadership training programs specifically tailored for women dentists can equip them with the necessary skills to take on leadership roles within their practices or professional organizations. Through interactive workshops, mentorship opportunities, and networking events, such leadership program aims to cultivate strong female leaders who can drive positive change in the dental industry. Although you can join such conventional programs, you can also participate in unconventional leadership trainings, like we did!
DentalReach is proud to say the the core organising team at DRDDS 3 was all female! We collaborated with (our favourite) Dental Diva Founder Dr Ashwini Pujari and together, the whole team comprising of Dr Zainab Rangwala (Dental journalist and Head of Media/PR Activities, DentalReach), Dr Sonal Yerpude (DentalReach Brand Ambassador and Dental Diva Core Committee member) and myself Dr Nupur Shrirao (Chief Editor & Head of Scientific Activities, DentalReach) pulled off the 2 day virtual event!
Supporting advocacy initiatives that address gender disparities in the dental industry can help raise awareness about the challenges faced by women dentists and drive positive change at a systemic level. This includes advocacy for equal pay for women dentists, ensuring that they receive fair compensation for their work and expertise.
This also encompasses education on gender issues. Promote educational initiatives that provide training on gender issues in dentistry, including topics such as workplace harassment prevention, gender-sensitive patient care, and cultural competency. Only when people are educated will they become aware of the gender issues, and only if they are aware of them will they acknowledge their existence and work towards solving these issues.
Work-Life Balance Strategies
Providing resources such as childcare assistance or flexible working arrangements can help alleviate some of the unique work-life balance challenges faced by women in dentistry. Using automation tools and technology to streamline activities may also help navigation through work easier.
Remember that every individual’s journey is unique, and it’s crucial to provide support and understanding to empower women dentists as they navigate these challenges. Together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable future in the field of dentistry!