Women In Dentistry. “People were amazed when they learned… | by Dr Saniya Aamir | Jan, 2024

“People were amazed when they learned that a young girl had so far forgotten her womanhood as to want to study dentistry.” (1)

This statement reflects the ideas that were common back then when society had certain expectations about what jobs were suitable for women.

These norms often made it difficult for women to pursue careers that were seen as unconventional or outside the traditional roles assigned to them. (2)

Lucy Hobbs (The first American woman to earn a dental degree in 1866), with her determination and passion for dentistry, not only pursued her own ambitions but also paved the way for future female dental professionals.

Back in 1897, the Los Angeles Herald created quite a stir with an article talking about women entering dentistry. (3)

They called it a “startling innovation,” suggesting a groundbreaking change that caught everyone’s attention. They even threw in the term “thorny way,” painting a picture of these women navigating a challenging and unconventional path.

The article said allowing women into dental schools was a “dangerous precedent.”

Yes, you heard it right.

It seems like having women in these academic and professional spaces was not just unusual but downright risky. Quite unexpected, right?

Fast forward to today, and it’s impressive to see how far women in dentistry have come since those “startling” days.

Or… have they?

If Lucy Hobbs were alive today, she would be surprised to see how the gender disparities haven’t completely disappeared almost 158 years later today.

Over the past few decades, the job market has seen some pretty big changes, and one of the coolest shifts is the growing number of women in professional roles.

Back in 1982, only 3% of dentists were women. Fast forward to 2004, and that number had jumped to 22%, with projections showing it could be between 28% and 30% by 2020.

This trend isn’t unique to dentistry; it’s happening in medical schools too. In 1975, only 22.7% of medical school applicants were women. But by 2011, that number had nearly doubled to 47.3%.

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