Facebook Live Q&A: What do women dentists want?
To celebrate International Women’s Day on Thursday 8 March 2018, our panel of female dentists discussed issues relating to developing careers, getting the best out of your contract and how to develop confidence in stepping up for leadership roles in the profession.
- Sahar Aghababaie - Associate at a mixed practice and working in a hospital post, and member of the BDA Young Dentists Committee
- Ruth Doherty (session chair) - Senior Managing Editor, British Dental Journal
- Alice Duke - Foundation dentist and member of the BDA Young Dentists Committee
- Juliet Mellor - BDA adviser
- Shivika Shah - Principal dentist and director of a mixed practice
Key issues facing women in dentistry today
Some of the key areas emerging from our discussion was that female role models in the profession encourage greater participation for women developing their career, dentistry is a fantastic career for women and can offer flexible working, to allow for a work-life balance, but some barriers still exist, especially in terms of women progressing into more senior roles.
The discussion also revealed there is some confusion about women who are working in dentisty's maternity rights - this is a complex area, but BDA members can access our advice on employees' maternity and parental rights.
Does dentistry have gender parity?
NHS Digital's report on NHS Earnings and Expenses Estimates 2015/16 shows the mean average taxable income for all self-employed primary care dentists (from NHS and private dentistry) by gender (England & Wales, 2015/16).
The report shows that female dentists are earning less, and are also less likely to be provider-performers. Women are disproportionately more likely to be performer-only dentists than their male counterparts, with over 90% working as performer- only, compared with 72% for men.
We note that there are gender differences among dentists in terms of both pay and the propensity to be practice owners.
It is likely that the former is influenced by the latter. Our research on the career intentions of associates indicates that the gender disparity among practice owners is set to persist and we plan to undertake further investigation into this area.
With regards to pay, we believe that an analysis of hourly pay, rather than taxable income, by gender would better allow for a distinction to be made between inequalities resulting from structural workforce factors and those caused by unequal pay for unequal work.
A greater percentage of the current community dental services workforce is female: in 2017, 79.1% of the CDS workforce was female.
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