Bulletin of Dental Education

Women in the Academy: Pitfalls and Promise

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The Women in Science Network Symposium, hosted by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) in March 2015, featured discussions on efforts surrounding the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in academics, as well as institutional policy transformation to create a family-friendly work environment.

The symposium highlighted how women’s participation in dentistry over the past 30 years has steadily increased. Women comprise 47 percent of all dental students and 40 percent of dental residents. In the workforce, women represent 21 percent of active professional dentists and 37 percent of professional dentists just entering the workforce.

The enrollments of dental students, advanced dental students, faculty and dental practitioners have also steadily increased and are reaching higher numbers than ever before. Women now represent 22 percent of dental school deans and constitute 96 percent of dental hygiene students. 

Even with these increases, women are still underrepresented in high tiers of academic dentistry. Evidence shows women frequently perceive the academic environment as hostile, express low job satisfaction and struggle with balancing a career and family without substantial institutional support. Despite the Equal Pay Act, salary inequality between men and women is still evident across academic appointment levels, with women medical scientists earning only 80 percent of male median wages.

Women in the Academy: Pitfalls and Promise, presented by ADEA’s Senior Scholar in Residence Jeanne C. Sinkford, D.D.S., Ph.D., summarized the programs and opportunities offered by ADEA to assist and improve the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in academic dentistry. 

ADEA’s inclusive offerings support the advancement of women and provide a basis for the admission and retention of women and minorities in academic dentistry. Some of ADEA’s policies focus directly on gender related issues: 

Learn more about these policies by viewing the presentation

*References and suggested reading lists discussing the factors and interventions influencing the careers of women in academic dentistry are available in the presentation. 

By Jeanne Craig Sinkford, D.D.S., Ph.D., ADEA Senior Scholar in Residence, Presented at the Women in Science Network Symposium, International Association for Dental Research, March 2015

Published on November 9, 2016.


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